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BUCKINGHAM 



UNIVERSITY OF BUCKINGHAM 



8113258 



\ 




1 Familiar in their Mouths as HOUSEHOLD WORDS." 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS 



Journal 



CONDUCTED BY 



CHARLES DICKENS. 



VOLUME I. 

FEOM MAECH 30 TO SEPTEMBER 21. 



LONDON: 
OFFICE, 16, WELLINGTON STREET, NORTH. 

1850. 



LONDON 
BEADBriiY AND EVANS PEINTKKS WHITKFEIARS 



CONTENTS. 



IAGR 

A PRELIMINARY W ord - 1 

Address from an Undertaker . . 301 

Adventures of a Carpet-bag . . 459 
Adventures of the Public Records, 396 

Alchemy and Gunpowder . . 135 

Amusements of the People . 13, 57 

Antediluvian Vegetation . . 28 
Appetite for News 
Arctic Discovery Ships . 
Artists' Model , 



Attorney's Story, An 
Australia : Letters from 



. 180 
. . 385 
. 510 
. 19,561 

Adventures in . 141, 418, 475 

Milkiug in . . .24 

- Pictures of Life in . . 307 
Ploughman's Story . . 39 

Australian Natives . . 419, 447 



BANK of England . . . . 337 
Bank-Note Forgeries . . 555, 615 
Bank-Note, History of a . . . 426 
Baptismal Rituals .... 107 

Bed 333 

Begging-Letter Writer . . . 169 
Belgian Lace-makers . . . . 320 

Bermuda 547 

Billingsgate, a Popular Delusion . 217 
Black Diamonds of England . . 247 
BooleyfMr.), Extraordinary Travels 

of 78 

A Caul from . . . . 175 
Bovington (Mr.) in Smithfield . . 121 

Letter from . . . 377 

Breathing Apparatus, The . . 565 
Brown Hat, The . . . .133 
Bull, Improving a . . . . 450 
Bundle of Emigrants' Letters . 19 
Burial Rites . . 43 



CANADA, Fishing in . . .243 
Hunting in . . . . 364 
Emigrant's Voyage to . 534 
"Cape" Sketches . . .588,607 
Card from Mr. Booley . . . 175 
Carpet-bag, Adventures of a . .459 
Cattle Road to Ruin . . . . 325 
Cheapness, Illustrations of: The 
Lucifer Match, 54 ; A Globe, 85 ; 
Eggs, 158; Tea, 253; The Steel 

Pen 563 

Chemical Contradictions . . 591 
Chemistry of a Candle . . . 439 
Cheerful Arithmetic . . .531 
Child's Dream of a Star . . . 25 
Chips, 350, 377, 402, 449, 467, 501, 

514,561,587, 614 

Chisholm's (Mrs.) Family Colonisa- 
tion Loan Society: its Design, 
19 ; Practical Working . . 514 
Christian Brotherhood, A . . . 483 
Christopher Shrimble on the De- 
cline of England . . . . 358 
- on Topography and Tem- 
perance 524 

Chnmometer-Room of the Green- 
wich Observatory . . . 203 
Clairon (Mdlle.), Incident in the 

Life of . . . . . 15 

Class Opinions. A Fable . . 330 
Coal Mine, Interior of a . . . 68 
Coals (Black Diamonds) . . .247 
Coal Exchange, The . . 249, 352 
Coal Fire, The True Story of a, 

26, 68, 90 
College of Surgeons c 464 



Colonial Training School (Rag- 
ged) .... 298, 407, 599 
Colonisation Loan Society . . 514 
Comic Leaves from the Statute 

Book 502 

Compass Observatory, Visit to the, 414 
Con McNale, Irish Difficulty Solved 

by 207 

" Constitutional" Office, Visit to 164 
Cookery among the Middle Classes, 140 
Coroner's Inquest, A . . . . 109 
County Courts, The . . .176 
Cumming's " African Adventures" 399 
Curious Epitaph .... 168 

DAY in a Pauper Palace . , . . 361 
Dead Letter Office, Curiosities of the, 10 
Dead Meat Markets . , .326 
Designs for Industrial Exhibition . 388 
Destruction of Parish Registers . 351 
Detective Police of the Metropolis ; 
Their Organisation, 368; Staff, 
409 ; a Detective Police Party, 
409, 457 ; Three Detective Anec- 
dotes 578 

Devil's Acre, The .... 297 
Dust, or Ugliness Redeemed . . 379 



EASY Spelling and Hard Reading . 561 

Ebenezer Elliott 310 

Education at Home and Abroad, 82 
Eggs, Supply and Consumption of . 158 
Egyptian Burial Rites . . -43 

Electric Eel 509 

Emigrant Afloat, An . . .534 
Emigrants' Letters . . 19, 562 
Excellent Opportunity, An (Tate) . 421 
Evening Schools for Adults . . 489 
Evil is wrought by want of Thought 

(Tale) I 

Exposition of 1851 . . . . 388 
Exploring Adventures in the Bush, 

141, 418, 475 



FACTORY Supervision, Statistics of, 

Family Colonisation Loan Society: 
its Design, 19; Practical Work- 
ing 

Fate Days 

Father and Son (Tale) . 

Few Facts about Matrimony . . 

Filtration of the Thames Water . 

Finsbury, Proposed Park for . . 

Fire Annihilator, The . 

Fire Brigade of London . . . 

Fish, Rapid Conveyance of, to 
Billingsgate 

Forbes', Dr., Physician's Holiday . 

Foreign Portraits of Englishmen . 

Forgeries of Bank Notes . 555, 

Francis Jeffrey 



GAMBLING Propagation Society in 
San Francisco 

Gentleman Beggar (Tale) 

Germany, Educational Status of 

Ghost of Art ... 

Ghost, The, of the Late Mr. James 
Barber A Yarn Ashore. . . 

Globe, A, Processes of its Manu- 
facture 

Golden City, The . . . . 

Golden Faggots A Child's Tale . 



502 



PAGE 

Good Governor, The . . . 547 
Good Old Times, A Tale of the . 103 
Good Plain Cook . . . . 139 
Grand Junction Water-works, A 

Visit to the 50 

Great Cat and Dog Question (Tale) 170 
Great Penal Experiments . . 250 
Greenwich Observatory . 200, 222 
Guiltcross Union House Agricul- 
tural Training School . . .575 



HAPPY Family from the Raven in 

the . . . .36, 156, 241, 505 
Health by Act of Parliament . . 460 
Heart of Mid-London . . . 121 

Heathen and Christian Burial . 43 
Hippopotamus, The . ... 445 
Home of Woodruffe the Gardener 

(Tale) .... 518, 540, 573 
Household Narrative . . . . 49 
How to Spend a Summer Holiday . 356 
How we went Fishing in Canada, 243 
How we went Hunting in Canada . 364 
Mullah's Popular Music . . . 161 



ILLUSTRATIONS of Cheapness: The 
Lucifer Match, 54; A Globe, 85 
Eggs, 158; Tea, 253; The Steel 

Pen 553 

Improving a Bull . . . . 450 
Impurities of Water . . .50 
Incident in the Life of Mdlle. 

Clairon 15 

Individuality of Locomotives . 614 
Innocence and Crime . . 431 
Inquest, A Coroner's . . . . 109 
" Irish Difficulty " Solved (Tale) . 207 
Irish Peculiarity, Ail . . . 594 
Isthmus of Suez . . . . 167 



JEFFREY, Lord , . . 113 

KNOCKING-UP Business, The . . 501 



LABORATORY in the Chest, The . 565 
514 Lacemakers of Belgium . . . 320 
596 1 Last of a Long Line (Tale) . 433 468 



213 



Law at a Low Price 
Ledru Rollin on the 
England " 



176 
Decline of 

. 358 



Letter from a Highly-Respectable 
Old Lady ' 186 

from Mr. Thomas Bovington 377 

from Mr. T. Oldcastle, Con- 
cerning the Coal Exchange . . 352 

about small beginnings . . 598 
Life and Labours of Lieut. Waghorn 494 
" Life in London," Registrar Gene- 
ral on 330 

Little Mary A Tale of the Black 

Year 392 

Little Place in Norfolk, A . .575 



Lizzie Leigh (Tale) 
Loaded Dice (Tale) . 



403 
510 

London Fires, Statistics of 
385, London Pauper Children 

Lucifer Match, The . 

Lungs for London 



2, 32. 60, 63 
. . 77 
. 149 
. 549 
. 54 
. 451 



MARRIAGE in St. Petersburgh, A . 402 
Matrimony, Economical Laws of . 374 



IV 



CONTENTS. 



Metropolitan Sanitary Association, 461 
MightuT Hunter than Nimrud, A . 31)9 
Milking in Australia . .24 
.Miner's l>aiu;hter(Tale) 125, 153, 182 
Modern " Officer's Progress " 304, 

317, 353 

Modern Science of Thief-taking . 308 
Mortality in the Metropolis . . 330 
Music in Humble Life . . .161 
My Wonderful Adventures inSkitz- 
hiiid 225 



NEVER wear a brown hat in Friesland 133 
New Joint-Stock Pandemonium . 403 
New Life and old Learning . . 130 

New Shoes 352 

Newspaper Antecedents . . . 270 
News, Statistics of the Public Ap- 
petite for 238 

Nice white Veal . . . .467 
No Hospital for Incurables . . 517 
Norwood Pauper-School, A Visit to, 549 



OBSEIIVATORY at Greenwich 200, 222, 414 
Officer's Progress (The Modern) . 304 
Oldcastle (Mr.), Letter from . . 352 
Old Churchyard Tree, The . . . 377 
Oldest Inhabitant of the Place de 

Greve 614 

Old Lady in Threadneedle Street . 337 
Old Lady, Letter from . . .186 
Old Lamps for New Ones . . 265 

Old Patch 659 

Old School, A Sample of . . . 187 
Old Soldier, A Very . . .562 
Opportunity, An excellent (Tale) . 421 
Oxford, Education in ... 130 



PANAMA Ship Canal . . .65 
Panorama Excursions of Mr.Booley, 73 

Paper-Mil], A 529 

Parish Registers, Destruction of . 351 
Paris Newspaper, A . . . . 164 
Penal Experiments, Great . . 250 
Penny Postage Results . . . 8 
Pentonville Model Prison . 98, 250 
" Perfect Felicity," . . . . 36 
Peter the Great, Anecdote of . 352 

Pet Prisoners 97 

Pictures of Life in Australia . . 307 
Pigeon Couriers of Antwerp . . 454 
Planet- Watchers of Greenwich . 200 
Poetry in the Byeways . . . 151 
Police, Detective . 368, 409, 457, 578 

Neapolitan . . . . 611 

Polytechnic Institution . . .508 

Popular Delusion, A ... 217 

Post-Office, Valentine's Day at the, 6 

Sunday Closing . 289, 378 

Power of Mercy 323 

Power of Small Beginnings . 407, 598 
Preliminary Word . . . . 1 
Pre-Raphael Brotherhood, The . 265 
Preservation from Shipwreck . 452 
Prison Life ; its Extremes . . 250 
" Protection," Strict Definition of . 503 



RAGGED Dormitories . 298, 407, 598 
Railway Comfort at Home and 

Abroad 449 

Railway Wonders of Last Year . 481 
Raven in the Happy Family, 36, 

156, 241, 505 
Registrar-General on "Life" in 

London 330 

Reporters of the French Debates 165 



Inspiration, or the Laboratory in 

the Chest . . . 565 

Review of a Popular Publication . 426 
Royal Rotten Row Commission . '_>74 
Russia, Modern Social Life iu . 201 



SABBATH Pariahs . . 289, 378 
Sample of the Old School . . 187 

San Francisco 313 

Savings Bank Defalcations . . 267 
Schoolmaster, at Home and Abroad, 82 
Separate Confinement System, The, 97 
Serf of Pobereze (Tale) . . .342 

Sharp's Alley 326 

Shilling's-worth of Science . . 507 
Shipwreck, Preservation of Life . 452 
Short Cuts across the Globe: 

Panama Ship Canal . . .65 

Isthmus of Suez . . . . 167 
Sickness and Health of the People 

of Bleaburn (Tale) 193, 230, 256, 283 
Skitzland, Wonderful Adventures 

in 225 

Slavery in Poland . . . . 342 
Small Beginnings, Power of . 407, 5<J8 
Smithfield, Adventures of Mr. Bo- 

vington in ..... 121 
Some Account of an Extraordinary 

Traveller 73 

Spy Police 611 

Statistics 

Bank of England Notes . . 429 

County Courts . . . 176 

Education at Home and 

Abroad . . .82 

Eggs 159 

Factory Supervision . 502 

London Fires . . . 149 

Lucifer Matches . . 54 

Middle Class Wealth . 531 

Marriages in England . 375 

Newspapers . . . . 238 

Penny Postage Results . 8 

Pentonville Prison . 98 

Railway Traffic of 1849 . 529 

Savings Banks . . . 267 

Tea 253 

Water Supply of London, 52 

Statute-Book, Some Absurdities of, 502 
Steam Plough . . . .604 
Story of an Australian Ploughman, 39 
Stranger's Leaf for 1851 . . . 515 
Suez,Isthmus of Ship Canal across 167 
Sunday Screw, The . . .289 
" Supposing " . . . . 96, 480 
Surgeons' College, A Visit to Roof 

of 464 

Swell Mob 370 

" Swinging the Ship ;" A Visit to 

the Compass Observatory . . 414 
Swinton Industrial Institution . 361 
Switzerland, a Summer Holiday in, 356 



TAYLOR, General Zachary . . 525 
Tea, English Annals of . 253 

Temperature, Self-Registration of, 224 
'i.'hieftaking, Modern Science of . 368 
Thread-Spinners of Belgium . 321 
Time Ball, Greenwich Observatory, 201 
Topography and Temperance . 524 
Torture in the Way of Business . 587 
Troubled Water Question, The . 49 
True Story of a Coal Fire, 26, 68, 90 
Two Chapters on Bank Note For- 
geries ..... 555, 615 
Two Guides of the Child, The . 560 
Two-handed Dick the Stockman, 141 
Two Letters from Australia . . 475 



UNDERTAKER, An Address from . 301 

VALENTINE'S Day at the 1'ost-Office, 6 
Very Old Soldier, A ... 502 
Visit to the Arctic Discovery Ships, 180 

WAGHORN, Lieut., Life . . . 494 
Wanted " A Good Plain Cook " . 139 
Water Question, The Troubled . 49 
Water Drops, The. A Faiiy Tale . 482 
Water Supply of London . 52, 488 
Weather Wisdom . . . . 222 
What there is in the Roof of the 

College of Surgeotis . . 464 

Winged Telegraphs . . . 454 
Wonders of 1851 . . . . 388 
Wordsworth, William . . . 210 
Work An Anecdote . . . 35 
Workhouse, A Walk in . . 204 
Workmen, English and French, 
Intellectual Acquirements and 
Moral Conduct of . . . . 490 

YOUNG Advocate (Tale) . . 292 
Young Jew of Tunis (Tale) . .118 
Young Russia .... 261 
Youth and Summer . . . . 404 



POEMS. 

ABRAHAM and the Fire- Worship- 
pers A Dramatic Parable . 12 

" All Things in the World must 
Change" 468 

Arctic Heroes A Fragment of 
Naval History . . . . 108 

Ballad of Richard Burnell . .372 

Birth of Morning . . . . 420 

Birth Song 229 

Cottage Memory, A . . . . 588 

Dialogue of Shadows . . .38 

Dream within Dream, or Evil Mi- 
nimised . . . . . . 

Earth's Harvests .... 

Every-day Hero 

Flowers 

Good Verses of a Bad Poet . . 

Great Man Departed . . . 

Household Jewels . . . 

I Would not Have Thee Young 
again 

Lady Alice 

Lines to a Dead Linnet . 

Love of Nature 

Old Haunt , . . . . 

Orphan's Voyage Home . . . 

" Press On " A Rivulet's Song 

Railway Station, The 

Revenge of ^Esop .... 

Sacred Grove 

Seasons, The 

Sister's Farewell .... 

Son of Sorrow A Fable from the 
Swedish 

Song of Death 

Sonnet to Lord Denman 

Sorrows and Joys . . , . 

Southey, Unpublished Lines by 

Spring-Time in the Court 

Stroll by Starlight .... 

Summer Sabbath .... 

Swedish Folk Songs. Fair Cariu . 
The Dove on the Lily . 



The Singer 
Uses of Sorrow 
Village Tale . 
Wayside Well, The . 
Wish, A .... 
Where Dwell the Dead ? . 



2!>7 
492 
325 
336 
96 
564 

392 
84 
547 
452 
444 
253 
301 
132 
288 
607 
65 
539 

238 
220 
60 
517 
187 
199 
350 
270 
180 
204 
574 
. 156 

'. 19 
. 245 
596 



" Familiar in their Mouths as HOUSEHOLD WORDS." SHAKESPEARE. 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS 

A WEEKLY JOURNAL. 
CONDUCTED BY CHARLES DICKENS. 



SATURDAY, MARCH 30, 1850. 



A PRELIMINARY WORD. 



HHHE name that we have chosen for this 
publication expresses, generally, the desire 
we have at heart in originating it. 

We aspire to live in the Household affec- 
tions, and to be numbered among the House- 
hold thoughts, of our readers. We hope to 
be the comrade and friend of many thousands 
of people, of both sexes, and of all ages and 
conditions, on whose faces we may never look. 
We seek to bring into innumerable homes, 
from the stirring world around us, the know- 
ledge of many social wonders, good and evil, 
that are not calculated to render any of us less 
ardently persevering in ourselves, less tolerant 
of one another, less faithful hi the progress of 
mankind, less thankful for the privilege of 
living in this summer-dawn of time. 

No mere utilitarian spirit, no iron binding of 
the mind to grim realities, will give a harsh 
tone to our Household Words. In the bosoms 
of the young and old, of the well-to-do and of 
the poor, we would tenderly cherish that light 
of Fancy which is inherent in the human 
breast ; which, according to its nurture, burns 
with an inspiring flame, or sinks into a sullen 
glare, but which (or woe betide that day !) can 
never be extinguished. To show to all, that 
in all familiar things, even in those which are 
repellant on the surface, there is Romance 
enough, if we will find it out : to teach the 
hardest workers at this whirling wheel of toil, 
that their lot is not necessarily a moody, brutal 
fact, excluded from the sympathies and graces 
of imagination ; to bring the greater and the 
lesser in degree, together, upon that wide field, 
and mutually dispose them to a better ac- 
quaintance and a kinder understanding is 
one main object of our Household Words. 

The mightier inventions of this age are not, 
to our thinking, all material, but have a kind 
of souls in their stupendous bodies which may 
find expression in Household Words. The 
traveller whom we accompany on his railroad 
or his steamboat journey, may gain, we hope, 
some compensation for incidents which these 
later generations have outlived, in new asso- 



ciations with the Power that bears him on- 
ward ; with the habitations and the ways of 
life of crowds of his fellow creatures among 
whom he passes like the wind ; even with the 
towering chimneys he may see, spirting out 
fire and smoke upon the prospect. The swart 
giants, Slaves of the Lamp of Knowledge, 
have their thousand and one tales, no less 
than the Genii of the East ; and these, in all 
their wild, grotesque, and fanciful aspects, in 
all their many phases of endurance, in all their 
many moving lessons of compassion and con- 
sideration, we design to tell. 

Our Household Words will not be echoes 
of the present time alone, but of the past too. 
Neither will they treat of the hopes, the 
enterprises, triumphs, joys, and sorrows, of 
this country only, but, in some degree, of those 
of every nation upon earth. For nothing can 
be a source of real interest in one of them, 
without concerning all the rest. 

We have considered what an ambition it is 
to be admitted into many homes with affec- 
tion and confidence ; to be regarded as a 
friend by children and old people; to be 
thought of in affliction and in happiness ; 
to people the sick room with aiiy shapes 
' that give delight and hurt not,' and to be 
associated with the harmless laughter and 
the gentle tears of many hearths. We know 
the great responsibility of such a privilege ; its 
vast reward ; the pictures that it conjures 
up, in hours of solitary labour, of a mul- 
titude moved by one sympathy ; the solemn 
hopes which it awakens in the labourer's 
breast, that he may be free from self-reproach 
in looking back at last upon his work, and 
that his name may be remembered in his 
race in time to come, and borne by the dear 
objects of his love with pride. The hand that 
writes these faltering lines, happily associated 
with some Household Words before to-day, has 
known enough of such experiences to enter 
in an earnest spirit upon this new task, and 
with an awakened sense of all that it involves. 

Some tillers of the field into which we now 



2 



HOUSEHOLD WOEDS. 



(.Conducted by 



come, have been before us, and some are 
here whose high usefulness we readily ac- 
knowledge, and whose company it is an 
honour to join. But, there are others here 
Bastards of the Mountain, draggled fringe 
on the Red Cap, Panders to the basest passions 
of the lowest natures whose existence is a 
national reproach. And these, we should 
consider it our highest service to displace. 

Thus, we begin our career ! The adventurer 
in the old fairy story, climbing towards the 
summit of a steep eminence on which the 
object of his search was stationed, was sur- 
rounded by a roar of voices, crying to him, 
from the stones in the way, to turn back. All 



the voices we hear, cry Go on ! The stones that 
call to us have sermons in them, as the trees 
have tongues, as there are books in the running 
brooks, as there is good in everytliing ! They, 
and the Time, cry out to us Go on ! With a 
fresh heart, a light step, and a hopeful courage, 
we begin the journey. The road is not so 
rough that it need daunt our feet : the way is 
not so steep that we need stop for breath, and, 
looking faintly down, be stricken motion- 
less. Go on, is all we hear, Go on ! In a 
glow already, with the air from yonder height 
upon us, and the inspiriting voices joining in 
this acclamation, we echo back the cry, and 
go on cheerily ! 



LIZZIE LEIGH. 

IN FOUR CHAPTERS. CHAPTER I. 

W7HEN Death is present in a household on a 
Christmas Day, the very contrast between 
the time as it now is, and the day as it has 
often been, gives a poignancy to sorrow, a 
more utter blankness to the desolation. 
James Leigh died just as the far-away -bells 
of Rochdale Church were ringing for morning 
service on Christmas Day, 1836. A few 
minutes before his death, he opened his al- 
ready glazing eyes, and made a sign to his 
wife, by the faint motion of his lips, that he 
had yet something to say. She stooped close 
down, and caught the broken whisper, ' I 
forgive her, Anne ! May God forgive me.' 

' Oh my love, my dear ! only get well, and 
I will never cease showing my thanks for 
those words. May God in heaven bless thee 
for saying them. Thou 'rt not so restless, my 
lad ! may be Oh God ! ' 

For even while she spoke, he died. 

They had been two-and-twenty years man 
and wife ; for nineteen of those years their 
life had been as calm and happy, as the most 
perfect uprightness on the one side, and the 
most complete confidence and loving submis- 
sion on the other, could make it. Milton's 
famous line might have been framed and 
hung up as the rule of their married life, for 
he was truly the interpreter, who stood be- 
tween God and her ; she would have con- 
sidered herself wicked if she had ever dared 
even to think him austere, though as cer- 
tainly as he was an upright man, so surely 
was he hard, stern, and inflexible. But for 
three years the moan and the murmur had 
never been out of her heart ; she had rebelled 
against her husband as against a tyrant, with 
a hidden sullen rebellion, which tore up the 
old land-marks of wifely duty and affection, 
and poisoned the fountains whence gentlest 
love and reverence had once been for ever 
springing. 

But those last blessed words replaced him 



on his throne in her heart, and called out 
penitent anguish for all the bitter estrange- 
ment of later years. It was this which made 
her refuse all the entreaties of her sons, that 
she would see the kind-hearted neighbours, 
who called on their way from church, to sym- 
pathise and condole. No ! she would stay 
with the dead husband that had spoken 
tenderly at last, if for three years he had 
kept silence ; who knew but what, if she had 
only been more gentle and less angrily reserved 
he might have relented earlier and in time ! 

She sat rocking herself to and fro by the 
side of the bed, while the footsteps below 
went in and out ; she had been in sorrow too 
long to have any violent burst of deep grief 
now ; the furrows were well worn in her 
cheeks, and the tears flowed qiiietly, if inces- 
santly, all the day long. But when the 
winter's night drew on, and the neighbours 
had gone away to their homes, she stole to 
the window, and gazed out, long and wist- 
fully, over the dark grey moors. She did not 
hear her son's voice, as he spoke to her from 
the door, nor his footstep as he drew nearer. 
She started when he touched her. 

' Mother ! come down to us. There 's no 
one but "Will and me. Dearest mother, we 
do so want you.' The poor lad's voice trem- 
bled, and he began to cry. It appeared to 
require an effort on Mrs. Leigh's part to tear 
herself away from the window, but with a 
sigh she complied with his request. 

The two boys (for though Will was nearly 
twenty-one, she still thought of him as a lad) 
had done everytliing in their power to make 
the house-place comfortable for her. She 
herself, in the old days before her sorrow, had 
never made a brighter fire or a cleaner 
hearth, ready for her husband's return home, 
than now awaited her. The tea-things were 
all put out, and the kettle was boiling ; and 
the boys had calmed their grief down into a 
kind of sober cheerfulness. They paid her 
every attention they could think of, but 
received little notice on her part ; she did 
not resist she rather submitted to all their 



Charles Dickens.] 



LIZZIE LEIGH. 



arrangements ; but they did not seem to 
touch her heart. 

When tea was ended, it was merely the 
form of tea that had been gone through, Will 
moved the things away to the dresser. His 
mother leant back languidly in her chair. 

' Mother, shall Tom read you a chapter ? 
He 's a better scholar than I.' 

' Aye, lad ! ' said she, almost eagerly. 
' That 's it. Read me the Prodigal Son. Aye, 
aye, lad. Thank thee.' 

Tom found the chapter, and read it in the 
high-pitched voice which is customary in 
village-schools. His mother bent forward, 
her Hps parted, her eyes dilated ; her whole 
body instinct with eager attention. Will sat 
with his head depressed, and hung down. 
He knew why that chapter had been chosen ; 
and to him it recalled the family's disgrace. 
When the reading was ended, he still hung 
down his head in gloomy silence. But her 
face was brighter than it had been before for 
the day. Her eyes looked dreamy, as if she 
saw a vision ; and by and by she pulled the 
bible towai-ds her, and putting her finger 
underneath each word, began to read them 
aloud in a low voice to herself ; she read again 
the words of bitter sorrow and deep humilia- 
tion ; but most of all she paused and bright- 
ened over the father's tender reception of the 
repentant prodigal. 

So passed the Christmas evening in the 
Upclose Farm. 

The snow had fallen heavily over the dark 
waving moorland, before the day of the 
funeral. The black storm-laden dome of 
heaven lay very still and close upon the white 
earth, as they carried the body forth out of 
the house which had known his presence so 
long as its ruling power. Two and two the 
mourners followed, making a black procession, 
in their winding march over the unbeaten 
snow, to Milne-E.ow Church now lost in some 
hollow of the bleak moors, now slowly climb- 
ing the heaving ascents. There was no long 
tarrying after the funeral, for many of the 
neighbours who accompanied the body to the 

frave had far to go, and the great white 
akes which came slowly down, were the 
boding fore-runners of a heavy storm. One 
old friend alone accompanied the widow and 
her sons to their home. 

The Upclose Farm had belonged for gene- 
rations to the Leighs ; and yet its possession 
hardly raised them above "the rank of la- 
bourers. There was the house and out- 
buildings, all of an old-fashioned kind, and 
about seven acres of bai-ren unproductive 
land, which they had never possessed ca- 
pital enough to improve ; indeed they could 
hardly rely upon it for subsistence ; and it 
had been customary to bring up the sons to 
some trade such as a wheelwright's, or black- 
smith's. 

_ James Leigh had left a will, in the posses- 
sion of the old man who accompanied them 
home. He read it aloud. James had be- 



queathed the farm to his faithful wife, Anne 
Leigh, for her life-time ; and afterwards, to 
his son William. The hundred and odd 
pounds in the savings'-bank was to accumu- 
late for Thomas. 

After the reading was ended, Anne Leigh 
sat silent for a time ; and then she asked to 
speak to Samuel Orrue alone. The sons went 
into the back-kitchen, and thence strolled out 
into the fields regardless of the driving snow. 
The brothers were dearly fond of each other, 
although they were very different in cha- 
racter. Will, the elder, was like his father, 
stern, reserved, and scrupulously upright. 
Tom (who was ten years younger) was gentle 
and delicate as a girl, both in appearance and 
character. He had always clung to his 
mother, and dreaded his father. They did 
not speak as they walked, for they were only 
in the habit of talking about facts, and 
hardly knew the more sophisticated language 
applied to the description of feelings. 

Meanwhile their mother had taken hold of 
Samuel Orme's arm with her trembling hand. 

' Samuel, I must let the farm I must.' 

' Let the farm ! What 's come o'er the 
woman 1 ' 

' Oh, Samuel ! ' said she, her eyes swimming 
in tears, ' I 'm just fain to go and live in 
Manchester. I inun let the farm.' 

Samuel looked, and pondered, but did not 
speak for some time. At last he said 

' If thou hast made up thy mind, there 's 
no speaking again it ; and thou must e'en go. 
Thou 'It be sadly pottered wi' Manchester 
ways ; but that 's not my look out. Why, 
thou 'It have to buy potatoes, a thing thou 
hast never done aibre in all thy born life. 
Well ! it 's not my look out. It 's rather 
for me than again me. Our Jenny is 
going to be married to Tom Higginbot- 
ham, and he was speaking of wanting a bit 
of land to begin upon. His father will be 
dying sometime, I reckon, and then he '11 
step into the Croft Farm. But meanwhile ' 

' Then, thou It let the farm,' said she, still 
as eagerly as ever. 

' Aye, aye, he '11 take it fast enough, I Ve a 
notion. But I'll not drive a bargain with 
thee just now ; it would not be right ; we '11 
wait a bit.' 

' No ; I cannot wait, settle it out at once.' 

' Well, well ; I '11 speak to Will about it. I 
see him out yonder. I '11 step to him, and 
talk it over.' 

Accordingly he went and joined the two 
lads, and without more ado, began the subject 
to them. 

' Will, thy mother is fain to go li ve in Man- 
chester, and covets to let the farm. Now, 
I 'm willing to take it for Tom Higginbotham ; 
but I like to drive a keen bargain, and there 
would be no fun chaffering with thy mother 
just now. Let thee and me buckle to, my 
lad ! and try and cheat each other ; it will 
warm us this cold day.' 

' Let the farm ! ' said both the lads at once, 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted bv 



with infinite surprise. 'Go live in Man- 
chester ! ' 

When Samuel Orme found that the plan 
had never before been named to either Will or 
Tom, he would have nothing to do with it, he 
said, until they had spoken to their mother ; 
likely she was 'dazed' by her husband's death ; 
he would wait a day or two, and not name it 
to any one ; not to Tom Higginbotham him- 
self, or may be he would set his heart upon it. 
The lads had better go in and talk it over 
with their mother. He bade them good day, 
and left them. 

Will looked very gloomy, but he did not speak 
till they got near the house. Then he said, 

' Tom, go to th' shippon, and supper the 
cows. I want to speak to mother alone.' 

When he entered the house-place, she was 
sitting before the fire, looking into its embers. 
She did not hear him come in ; for some tune 
she had lost her quick perception of outward 
things. 

' Mother ! what 's this about going to Man- 
chester 1 ' asked he. 

' Oh, lad ! ' said she, turning round, and 
speaking in a beseeching tone, ' I must go and 
seek our Lizzie. I cannot rest here for think- 
ing on her. Many 's the time I Ve left thy 
father sleeping in bed, and stole to th' window, 
and looked and looked my heart out towards 
Manchester, till I thought I must just set out 
and tramp over moor and moss straight away 
till I got there, and then lift up every down- 
cast face till I came to our Lizzie. And often, 
when the south wind was blowing soft among 
the hollows, I've fancied (it could but be 
fancy, thou knowest) I heard her crying upon 
me ; and I Ve thought the voice came closer 
and closer, till at last it was sobbing out 
" Mother " close to the door ; and I Ve stolen 
down, and undone the latch before now, and 
looked out into the still black night, thinking 
to see her, and turned sick and sorrowful 
when I heard no living sound but the sough 
of the wind dying away. Oh ! speak not to me 
of stopping here, when she may be perishing 
for hunger, like the poor lad in the parable.' 
And now she lifted up her voice and wept aloud. 

Will was deeply grieved. He had been 
old enough to be told the family shame when, 
more than two years before, his father had 
had his letter to his daughter returned by her 
mistress in Manchester, telling him that 
Lizzie had left her service some time and 
why. He had sympathised with his father's 
stern anger ; though he had thought him some- 
thing hard, it is true, when he had forbidden 
his weeping, heart-broken wife to go and tiy to 
find her poor sinning child, and declared that 
henceforth they would have no daughter ; 
that she should be as one dead, and her name 
never more be named at market or at meal 
time, in blessing or in prayer. He had held 
his peace, with compressed lips and contracted 
brow, when the neighbours had noticed to him 
how poor Lizzie's death had aged both his 
lather and his mother ; and how they thought 



the bereaved couple would never hold up their 
heads again. He himself had felt as if that 
one event had made him old before his tune ; 
and had envied Tom the tears he had shed 
over poor, pretty, innocent, dead Lizzie. He 
thought about her sometimes, till he ground 
his teeth together, and could have struck -her 
down in her shame. His mother had never 
named her to him until now. 

' Mother ! ' said he at last. ' She may be 
dead. Most likely she is.' 

' No, Will ; she is not dead,' said Mrs. Leigh. 
' God will not let her die till I Ve seen her 
once again. Thou dost not know how I Ve 
prayed and prayed just once again to see her 
sweet face, and tell her I Ve forgiven her, 
though she 's broken my heart she has, Will.' 
She could not go on for a minute or two for the 
choking sobs. ' Thou dost notknow that, or thou 
wouldst not say she could be dead, for God is 
very merciful, Will ; He is, He is much more 
pitiful than man, I could never ha' spoken to 
thy father as I did to Him, and yet thy father 
forgave her at last. The last words he said 
were that he forgave her. Thou 'It not be 
harder than thy father, Will ? Do not try and 
hinder me going to seek her, for it 's no use.' 

Will sat very still for a long time before he 
spoke. At last he said, ' I '11 not hinder you. 
I think she 's dead, but that 's no matter.' 

' She is not dead,' said her mother, with low 
earnestness. Will took no notice of the 
interruption. 

' We will all go to Manchester for a twelve- 
month, and let the farm to Tom Higginbotham. 
I '11 get blacksmith's work ; and Tom can have 
good schooling for awhile, which he 's always 
craving for. At the end of the year you '11 
come back, mother, and give over fretting for 
Lizzie, and think with me that she is dead, 
and, to my mind, that would be more comfort 
than to think of her living ; ' he dropped his 
voice as he spoke these last words. She shook 
her head, but made no answer. He asked 
again, 

' Will you, mother, agree to this 1 ' 

' I '11 agree to it a-this-ns,' said she. ' If I 
hear and see nought of her for a twelvemonth, 
me being in Manchester looking out, I '11 just 
ha' broken my heart fairly before the year 's 
ended, and then I shall know neither love nor 
sorrow for her any more, when I 'm at rest in 
the grave I '11 agree to that, Will.' 

' Well, I suppose it must be so. I shall not 
tell Tom, mother, why we 're flitting to Man- 
chester. Best spare him.' 

' As thou wilt,' said she, sadly, ' so that we 
go, that 's all.' 

Before the wild daffodils were in flower in 
the sheltered copses round Upclose Farm, the 
Leighs were settled in their Manchester 
home ; if they could ever grow to consider that 
place as a home, where there was no garden, 
or outbuilding, no fresh breezy outlet, no 
far-stretching view, over moor and hollow, 
no dumb animals to be tended, and, what 
more than all they missed, no old haunting 



Charles Dickens.] 



LIZZIE LEIGH. 



memories, even though those remembrances 
told of sorrow, and the dead and gone. 

Mrs. Leigh heeded the loss of all these 
things less than her sons. She had more 
spirit in her countenance than she had had for 
months, because now she had hope ; of a sad 
enough kind, to be sure, but still it was hope. 
She performed all her household duties, 
strange and complicated as they were, and 
bewildered as she was with all the town- 
necessities of her new manner of life ; but 
when her house was 'sided,' and the boys 
come home from their work, in the evening, 
she would put on her things and steal out, 
unnoticed, as she thought, but not without 
many a heavy sigh from Will, after she had 
closed the house-door and departed. It was 
often past midnight before she came back, 
pale and weary, with almost a guilty look 
upon her face ; but that face so full of disap- 
pointment and hope deferred, that Will had 
never the heart to say what he thought of the 
folly and hopelessness of the search. Night 
after night it was renewed, till days grew 
to weeks and weeks to months. All this 
time Will did his duty towards her as well as 
he could, without having sympathy with her. 
He staid at home in the evenings for Tom's 
sake, and often wished he had Tom's pleasure 
in reading, for the time hung heavy on his 
hands, as he sat up for his mother. 

I need not tell you how the mother spent 
the weary hours. And yet I will tell you 
something. She used to wander out, at first 
as if without a purpose, till she rallied her 
thoughts, and brought all her energies to bear 
on the one point ; then she went with earnest 
patience along the least known ways to some 
new part of the town, looking wistfully with 
dumb entreaty into people's faces ; sometimes 
catching a glimpse of a figure which had a 
kind of momentary likeness to her child's, and 
following that figure with never wearying 
perseverance, till some light from shop or 
lamp showed the cold strange .face which was 
not her daughter's. Once or twice a kind- 
hearted passer-by, struck by her look of 
yearning woe, turned back and offered help, 
or asked her what she wanted. When so 
spoken to, she answered only, 'You don't 
know a poor girl they call Lizzie Leigh, do 
you ? ' and when they denied all knowledge, 
she shook her head, and went on again. I 
think they believed her to be crazy. But she 
never spoke first to any one. She sometimes 
took a few minutes' rest on the door-steps, 
and sometimes (very seldom) covered her face 
and cried ; but she could not aiford to lose 
time and chances in this way ; while her eyes 
were blinded with tears, the lost one might 
pass by unseen. 

One evening, in the rich time of shortening 
autumn-days, Will saw an old man, who, 
without being absolutely drunk, could not 
guide himself rightly along the foot-path, and 
was mocked for his unsteadiness of gait by 
the idle boys of the neighbourhood. For his 



father's sake Will regarded old age with 
tenderness, even when most degraded and 
removed from the stern virtues which dig- 
nified that father ; so he took the old man 
home, and seemed to believe his often-re- 
peated assertions that he drank nothing but 
water. The stranger tried to stiffen himself up 
into steadiness as he drew nearer home, as if 
there were some one there, for whose respect 
he cared even in his half -intoxicated state, or 
whose feelings he feared to grieve. His 
home was exquisitely clean and neat even in 
outside appearance ; threshold, window, and 
window-sill, were outward signs of some 
spirit of purity within. Will was rewarded 
for his attention by a bright glance of thanks, 
succeeded by a blush of shame, from a young 
woman of twenty or thereabouts. She did 
not speak, or second her father's hospitable 
invitations to him to be seated. She seemed 
unwilling that a stranger should witness her 
father's attempts at stately sobriety, and Will 
could not bear to stay and see her distress. 
But when the old man, with many a flabby 
shake of the hand, kept asking him to come 
again some other evening and see them, Will 
sought her down-cast eyes, and, though he 
could not read their veiled meaning, he an- 
swered timidly, ' If it 's agreeable to every- 
body, I '11 come and thank ye.' But there 
was no answer from the girl to whom this 
speech was in reality addressed ; and Will 
left the house liking her all the better for 
never speaking. 

He thought about her a great deal for 
the next day or two ; he scolded himself 
for being so foolish as to think of her, and 
then fell to with fresh vigour, and thought 
of her more than ever. He tried to depre- 
ciate her ; he told himself she was not pretty, 
and then made indignant answer that he 
liked her looks much better than any beauty 
of them all. He wished he was not so 
country looking, so red-faced, so broad- 
shouldered ; while she was like a lady, with 
her smooth colourless complexion, her bright 
dark hair and her spotless dress. Pretty, or 
not pretty, she drew his footsteps towards 
her ; he could not resist the impulse that 
made him wish to see her once more, and 
find out some fault which should unloose 
his heart from her unconscious keeping. 
But there she was, pure and maidenly as 
before. He sat and looked, answering her 
father at cross-purposes, while she drew 
more and more into the shadow of the 
chimney-corner out of sight. Then the spirit 
that possessed him (it was not he himself, sure, 
that did so impudent a thing !) made him get 
up and carry the candle to a different place, 
under the pretence of giving her more light 
at her sewing, but, in reality, to be able to 
see her better ; she could not stand this much 
longer, but jumped up, and said she must put 
her little niece to bed ; and surely, there 
never was, before or since, so troublesome a 
child of two years old ; for, though Will staid 



(i 



HOUSEHOLD WOEDS. 



I Conducted by 



an hour and a half longer, she never r;mi< 
down again. He won the father's 1: 
though, by his capacity as a listener, for 
some people are not at all particular, and, 
so that they themselves may talk on iindis- 
turbed, are not so unreasonable as to expect 
attention to what they say. 

Will did gather this much, however, from 
the old man s talk. He had once been quite 
in a genteel line of business, but had failed 
for more money than any greengrocer he had 
heard of ; at least, any who did not mix up 
fish and game with greengrocery proper. 
Tliis grand failure seemed to have been the 
event of his life, and one on which he dwelt 
with a strange kind of pride. It appeared as 
if at present ne rested from his past exertions 
(in the bankrupt line), and depended on his 
daughter, who kept a small school for very 
young children. But all these particulars 
Will only remembered and xmderstood, when 
he had left the house ; at the time he heard 
them, he was thinking of Susan. After he had 
made good his footing at Mr. Palmer's, he 
was not long, you may be sure, without 
finding some reason for returning again and 
again. He listened to her father, he talked 
to the little niece, but he looked at Susan, 
both while he listened and while he talked. 
Her father kept on insisting upon liis former 
gentility, the details of which would have 
appeared very questionable to Will's mind, if 
the sweet, delicate, modest Susan had not 
thrown an inexplicable air of refinement over 
all she came near. She never spoke much ; 
she was generally diligently at work ; but 
when she moved it was so noiselessly, and 
when she did speak, it was in so low and soft 
a voice, that silence, speech, motion and still- 
ness, alike seemed to remove her high above 
Will's reach into some saintly and inaccessible 
air of glory high above his reach, even as 
she knew him ! And, if she were made ac- 
quainted with the dark secret behind, of his 
sister's shame, which was kept ever present 
to his mind by his mother's nightly search 
among the outcast and forsaken, would not 
Susan shrink away from him with loathing, 
as if he were tainted by the involuntary rela- 
tionship? This was Ms dread; and there- 
upon followed a resolution that he would 
withdraw from her sweet company before it 
was too late. So he resisted internal ' temp- 
tation, and staid at home, and suffered and 
sighed. He became angry with his mother 
for her untiring patience in seeking for one 
who, he could not help hoping, was dead 
rather than alive. He spoke sharply to her, 
and received only such sad deprecatory an- 
swers as made him reproach himself, and still 
more lose sight of peace of mind. This 
struggle could not last long without affect- 
ing his health ; and Tom, his sole companion 
through the long evenings, noticed his in- 
creasing languor, his restless irritability, with 
perplexed anxiety, and at last resolved to 
call his mother's attention to his brother's 



haggard, care-worn looks. She listened with 
a startled recollection of Will's claims upon 
her love. She noticed his decreasing appetite, 
and half-checked sighs. 

' Will, lad ! what's come o'er thee ? ' said .she 
to him, as he sat listlessly gazing into the fire. 

' There 's nought the matter with me,' said 
he, as if annoyed at her remark. 

' Nay, lad, but there is.' He did not speak 
again to contradict her ; indeed she did not 
know if he had heard her, so unmoved did he 
look. 

' Would'st like to go back to Upclose Farm ? ' 
asked she, sorrowfully. 

' It 's just blackberrying tune,' said Tom. 

Will shook his head. She looked at him 
awhile, as if trying to read that expression of 
despondency and trace it back to its source. 

' Will and Tom could go,' said she ; ' I must 
stay here till I've found her, thou know'st,' 
continued she, dropping her voice. 

He turned quickly round, and with the 
authority he at all times exercised over Tom, 
bade him begone to bed. 

When Tom had left the room he prepared 
to speak. 



VALENTINE'S DAY AT THE POST- 
OFFICE. 

LATE in the afternoon of the 14th of Fe- 
bruary last past, an individual who bore not 
the smallest resemblance to a despairing lover, 
or, indeed, to a lover in any state of mind, 
was seen to drop into the box of a Fleet 
Street receiving-house two letters folded in 
flaming covers. He did not look round to see 
if he were observed, but walked boldly into 
the shop with a third epistle, and deposited 
thereon one penny. Considering the suspi- 
cious appearance of this document for it 's 
envelope was green he retired from the coun- 
ter with extraordinary nonchalance, and coolly 
walked on towards Ludgate Hill. 

Long paces soon brought him to St. Martin's- 
le-Grand, for he strode like a man who had 
an imminent appointment. Sure enough, 
under the clock of the General Post-Ofiice, he 
joined another, who eagerly asked, 

' Have you done it 1 ' 

The answer was, ' I have ! ' 

' Very well. Let us now watch the result.' 

Most people are aware that the Great Na- 
tional Post-Office in St. Martin's-le-Grand is 
divided into halves by a passage, whose sides 
are perforated with what is called the 
' Window Department.' Here huge slits gape 
for letters, whole sashes yawn for newspapers, 
or wooden panes open for clerks to frame their 
large faces, like giant visages in the slides of a 
Magic Lanthorn ; and to answer inquiries, or 
receive unstamped paid letters. The southern 
side is devoted to the London District Post, 
uid the northern to what still continues to 
be called the ' Inland Department,' although 
foreign, colonial, and other outlandish corre- 
spondence now passes through it. It was with 



Charles Dickens.] 



VALENTINE'S DAY AT THE POST-OFFICE. 



the London District Branch that the two gen- 
tlemen first appeared to have business. 

Having been led through a maze of offices 
and passages more or less dark, they found 
themselves like knights-errant in a fairy tale 
' in an enormous hall, illumined by myriads 
of lights.' Without being exactly transformed 
into statues, or stricken fast asleep, the occu- 
pants of this hall (whose name was Legion) 
appeared to be in an enchanted state of idle- 
ness. Among a wilderness of long tables, 
and of desks not unlike those on which butter- 
men perform their active parts of legerdemain 
in making 'pats ' only these desks were 
covered with black cloth they were reading 
books, talking together, wandering about, 
lying down, or drinking coffee apparently 
quite unused to doing any work, and not at 
all expectant of ever having anything to do, 
but die. 

In a few minutes, and without any prepa- 
ration, a great stir began at one end of this 
hall, and an immense train of private per- 
formers, in the highest state of excitement, 
poured in, getting up, on an immense scale, 
the first scene in the ' Miller and his Men.' 
Each had a sack on his back ; each bent under 
its weight ; and the bare sight of these sacks, 
as if by magic, changed all the readers, all 
the talkers, all the wanderers, all the liers- 
down, all the coffee-drinkers, into a colony of 
human ants ! 

For the sacks were great sheepskin bags 
of letters tumbling in from the receiving- 
houses. Anon they looked like whole flocks 
suddenly struck all of a heap, ready for 
slaughter ; for a ruthless individual stood 
at a table, with sleeves tucked up and 
knife in hand, who rapidly cut their throats, 
dived into their insides, abstracted their con- 
tents, and finally skinned them. ' For every 
letter we leave behind,' said the bag-opener, 
in answer to an inquiry, ' we are fined half-a- 
crown. That 's why we turn them inside out.' 

The mysterious visitors closely scrutinised 
the letters that were disgorged. These were 
from all parts of London to all parts of London 
and to the provinces and to the far-off quarters 
of the globe. An acute postman might guess 
the broad tenour of their contents by their 
covers : business letters are in big envelopes, 
official letters in long ones, and lawyers' letters 
in none at all ; the tinted and lace-bordered 
mean Valentines, the black-bordered tell of 
grief, and the radiant with white enamel 
announce marriage. When the Fleet Street 
dispatch appeared, the visitors tracked it, 
and the operations of the clerk who separated 
the three bundles of which it consisted were 
closely followed. With the prying curiosity 
which now only began to show itself, one of 
the intruders actually took a copy of the bill 
which accompanied the- letters. It set forth in 
three lines that there were so many ' Stamped,' 
so many ' Prepaid,' and so many ' Unpaid.' 

The clerk counted the stamped letters like 
lightning, and a flash of red gleaming past 



showed the inquirers that one of their epistles 
was safe. Suddenly the motion was stopped ; 
the official had instinctively detected that one 
letter was insufficiently adorned with the 
Queen's profile, and he weighed and taxed it 
double in a twinkling. Having proved the 
number of stamped letters to be exactly as 
per account rendered, he went on checking 
off the prepaid, turning up the sender's green 
missive in the process. He then dealt with 
the unpaid, amongst which the lookers-on 
perceived their yellow one. The cash column 
was computed and cast in a single thought, 
and a short-hand mark, signifying ' quite 
correct,' dismissed the Fleet Street bill upon 
a file, for the leisurely scrutiny of the Receiver- 
General's office. All the other letters, and all 
the other bills of all the other receiving- 
houses, were going through the same routine 
at all the other tables ; and these perform- 
ances are repeated ten times in every day, all 
the year round, Sundays excepted ! 

' You perceived,' said one of the two friends, 
( that in the rapid process of counting, our 
stamped letter gleamed past like a meteor, 
whilst our money-paid and unpaid epistles 
remained long enough under observation for a 
careful reading of the superscriptions.' 

1 That delay,' said an intelligent official, ' is 
occasioned because the latter are unstamped. 
Such letters cause a great complication of 
trouble, wholly avoided by the use of Queen's 
heads. Every officer through whose hands they 
pass from the receiving-house-keeper to the 
carriers who deliver them at their destina- 
tions has to give and take a cash account of 
each. If the public would put stamps on all 
letters, it would save us, and therefore itself, 
some thousands a-year. 

' What are the proportions of the stamped 
to the prepaid and unpaid letters which pass 
through all the post-offices during the year 1 ' 

' We can tell within a very near approxi- 
mation to correctness : 337,500,000 passed 
through the post-offices of the United King- 
dom during last year, and to every 100 of 
them about fifty had stamps ; 46 were pre- 
paid with pennies ; and only 4 were committed 
to the box unpaid.' 

While one of the visitors was receiving this 
information, the other had followed his varie- 
gated letters to the next process ; which was 
that of stamping on the sealed face, in red ink, 
the date and hour of despatch. The letters 
are ranged in a long row, like a pack of cards 
thrown across a table, and so fast does the 
stamper's hand move, that he can mark 3000 
in an hour. While defacing the Queen's heads 
on the other side, he counts as he thumps, till 
he enumerates fifty, when he dodges his stamp 
on one side to put his black mark on a piece of 
plain paper. All these memoranda are after- 
wards collected by the president, who, reckon- 
ing fifty letters to every black mark, gets a 
near approximation to the number that have 
passed through the office. 

It was by this means that our friends 



8 



HOUSEHOLD WOKDS. 



[Conducted by 



obtained the following account of the number 
of district letters that passed through this 
office on St. Valentine's Day : 



l-Vb.Hth, 
1850. 


1'aid. 


Unpaid. 


Stamped. 


Total. 




Id. 


Id. 


2d. 






Collections. 












8 o'clock. 


6,872 


52 


1,216 


20.082 


28,222 


10 


6,212 


19 


607 


18,629 


20,467 


12 


7,069 


36 


612 


15,240 


22,957 


1 ., 


2,989 


17 


277 


G,395 


9,678 


2 


6,520 


39 


635 


13,696 


20,790 


3 


2,456 


36 


328 


6,909 


9,729 


4 


4,873 


36 


375 


13,478 


13,478 


5 


3,3-10 


28 


317 


8,207 


11,892 


<> .. 


9,300 


129 


958 


27,950 


38,337 


8 


3,903 


32 


812 


6,650 


11,487 




53,624 


424 


6,037 


126.952 


187,037 



To this total are to be added 6,000 ' bye ' 
letters or those which passed from village 
to village within the suburban limits of the 
district post without reaching the chief 
office and 100,000 destined for the provinces 
and places beyond sea, which were transferred 
to the Inland Department. The grand total 
for the day, therefore, rose to nearly 300,000. 
Thus the sacrifices to the fane of St. Valentine 
consisting of hearts, darts, Cupid peeping 
out of paper-roses, Hymen embowered in hot- 
pressed embossing, swains in very blue coats 
and nymphs in very opaque muslin, coarse 
caricatures and tender verses caused an 
augmentation to the revenue on this anniver- 
sary equal to about 70,000 missives ; 123,000 
being the usual daily average for district and 
' byes ' during the month of February. This 
increase, being peculiar to cross and district 
posts, does not so much affect the Inland 
Office, for lovers and sweethearts are gene- 
rally neighbours. The entire correspondence 
of the three kingdoms is augmented on each 
St. Valentine's day to the extent of about 
400,000 letters. 

' Is it possible ? ' exclaimed one of the visi- 
tors, regarding the piles of epistles on the nu- 
merous tables, 'that this mass of letters can 
be arranged and sent away to "their respective 
addresses in time to receive the next collec- 
tion, which will arrive in less than an hour ? ' 

' Quite,' replied an obliging informant, ' I '11 
tell you how we do it. We have divided 
London into seventeen sections. There they 
are, you perceive.' He then pointed to the 
tables with pigeon-holes numbered from one 
to seventeen ; one marked ' blind,' with a 
nineteenth labelled ' general.' It was ex- 
plained that the proper arrangement of 
the letters in these compartments consti- 
tutes the first sorting. They are then sorted 
into sub-divisions ; then into districts, and 
finally handed over to the letter-carriers, 
who, in another room, arrange them for their 
own convenience into 'walks.' As the visitors 
looked round they perceived their coloured 
envelopes which were all addressed to Scot- 
land suddenly emerge from a chaotic heap, 



and lodge in the division marked 'general,' as 
magically as a conjurer causer, any card you. 
may choose to fly out of the whole pack. 
' These letters,' remarked the expositor, ' heiug 
for the country will be presently passed into 
the Inland Office through a tunnel under the 
hall. The "blind" letters have superscriptions 
which the sorters cannot decypner, and are 
sent to the " blind " table where a gentleman 
presides, to whom, from the extreme sharp- 
ness of his vision, we give the lucus a non 
lucendo name of the " blind clerk." You will 
have a specimen of his powers presently.' 

While this dialogue was going on there was 
a general abatement of the noise of stamping, 
and .shuffling letters, and when the visitors 
looked round, the place had relapsed into its 
former tranquillity. It was scarcely credible 
that from 30,000 to 40,000 letters had been 
received, stamped, counted, sorted, and sent 
away in so short a time. 'A judicious divi- 
sion of labour,' remarked one of our friends, 
' must work these miracles.' 

' Yes, sir,' was the reply of an official, ' and 
there are from 1200 to 1700 of us to do the 
work of the district post alone. When it was 
removed from Gerard Street to this building 
there was not a quarter of that number. For 
instance then, three carriers sufficed for the 
Paddington district ; but, by the dispatch 
you have just seen completed, we have sent 
off 2000 letters to that single locality by the 
hands of twenty-five carriers.' 

' The increase is attributable to the penny 
system ? ' interrogated one of our inquiring 
friends. 

' Entirely.' 

The questioner then referred to a Parlia- 
mentary paper of which he had obtained pos- 
session. It showed him the history of general 
postal increase since the era of dear distance 
rates. In 1839 under the old system the 
number of letters which passed through the 
post was 76,000,000. In 1840 came the 
uniform penny, and for that year the number 
was 162,000,000, or an increase of 93,000,000, 
equal to 123 per cent. That was the grand 
start ; afterwards the rate of increase sub- 
sided from 36 per cent, in 1841, to 16 per cent, 
in 1842 and 1843. In 1845, and the three fol- 
lowing years, the increase was respectively, 39, 
37, and 30 per cent. Then succeeded a sudden 
drop ; perhaps the culminating point had been 
attained. The Post-Office is, however, a ther- 
mometer of commerce : during the depressing 
year 1848, the number of letters increased no 
more than 9 per cent. But last year 37,500,000 
epistles passed through the office, being an 
augmentation of 8,500,000 upon the preceding 
year, or 11 per cent, of progressive increase. 
Another Parliamentary document shows, 
that, although the business is now exactly four- 
and-a-half times more than it was in 1839, 
the expense of doing it has only doubled. In 
the former year the cost of the establishment 
was not quite GdO,GOOl. ; in 1849 it was about 
1,400,000^. 



Charles Dickens.] 



VALENTINE'S DAY AT THE POST-OFFICE. 



While one visitor was poring over these 
documents, the other deliberately watched 
the coloured envelopes. They were, with 
about 2000 other General Post letters, put 
into boxes and taken to the tunnel to be con- 
veyed into the Inland Office upon a horizontal 
band worked by a wheel. The two friends 
now took leave of the District Department 
to follow the objects of their pursuit. 

It was a quarter before six o'clock when 
they crossed the Hall six being the latest 
hour at which newspapers can be posted 
without fee. 

It was then just drizzling newspapers. 
The great window of that department being 
thrown open, the first black fringe of a 
thunder -cloud of newspapers impending over 
the Post-Office was discharging itself fitfully 
now in large drops, now in little ; now in 
sudden plumps, now stopping altogether. By 
degrees it began to rain hard ; by fast degrees 
the storm came on harder and harder, until 
it blew, rained, hailed, snowed, newspapers. 
A fountain of newspapers played in at the 
window. Water-spouts of newspapers broke 
from enormous sacks, and engulphed the men 
inside. A prodigious main of newspapers, at 
the Newspaper Eiver Head, seemed to be 
turned on, threatening destruction to the 
miserable Post-Office. The Post-Office was so 
full already, that the window foamed at the 
mouth with newspapers. Newspapers flew 
out like froth, and were tumbled in again 
by the bystanders. All the boys in London, 
seemed to have gone mad, and to be besieging 
the Post-Office with newspapers. Now and 
then there was a girl ; now and then a 
woman ; now and then a weak old man : but 
as the minute hand of the clock crept near to 
six, such a torrent of boys, and such a torrent 
of newspapers came tumbling in together pell- 
mell, head over heels, one above another, that 
the giddy head looking on chiefly wondered 
why the boys springing over one another's 
heads, and flying the garter into the Post- 
Office with the enthusiasm of the corps of 
acrobats at M. Franconi's, didn't post them- 
selves nightly, along with the newspapers, and 
get delivered all over the world. 

Suddenly it struck six. Shut Sesame ! 
Perfectly still weather. Nobody there. No 
token of the late storm Not a soul, too late ! 

But what a chaos within ! Men up to 
their knees in newspapers on great platforms ; 
men gardening among newspapers with 
rakes ; men digging and delving among 
newspapers as if a new description of rock 
had been blasted into those fragments ; men 
going up and down a gigantic trap an ascend- 
ing and descending-room worked by a steam- 
engine still taking with them nothing but 
newspapers ! All the history of the time, all 
the chronicled births, deaths, and marriages, 
all the crimes, all the accidents, all the 
vanities, all the changes, all the realities, of 
all the civilised earth, heaped up, parcelled 
out, carried about, knocked down, cut, shuffled, 



dealt, played, gathered up again, and passed 
from hand to hand, in an apparently inter- 
minable and hopeless confusion, but really in 
a system of admirable order, certainty, and 
simplicity, pursued six nights every week, all 
through the rolling year ! Which of us, 
after this, shall find fault with the rather 
more extensive system of good and evil, when 
we don't quite understand it at a glance ; or 
set the stars right in their spheres ? 

The friends were informed that 70,000,000 
newspapers pass through all the post-offices 
every year. Upwards of 80,000,000 news- 
paper-stamps are distributed annually from 
the Stamp-Office; but most of the London 
papers are conveyed into the country by early 
trains. On the other hand, frequently the 
same paper passes through the post several 
times, which accounts for the small excess of 
10,000,000 stamps issued over papers posted. 
In weight, 187 tons of paper and print pass 
up and down the ingenious ' lift ' every week, 
and thence to the uttermost corners of the 
earth from Blackfriars to Botany Bay, from 
the Strand to Chusan. 

As to the rooms, revealed through gratings 
in the well, traversed by the ascending and 
descending-room, and walked in by the vi- 
sitors afterwards, those enormous chambers, 
each with its hundreds of sorters busy over 
their hundreds of thousands of letters 
those dispatching places of a business that has 
the look of being eternal and never to be 
disposed of or cleared away those silent 
receptacles of countless millions of passionate 
words, for ever pouring through them like a 
Niagara of language, and leaving not a drop 
behind what description could present them ? 
But when a sorter goes home from these 
places to his bed, does he dream of letters ? 
When he has a fever (sorters must have fevers 
sometimes) does he never find the Welch 
letters getting into the Scotch divisions, and 
the London letters going to Jericho 1 When 
he gets a glass too much, does he see no 
double letters misrsorting themselves unac- 
countably ? When he is very ill, do no 
dead letters stare him in the face ? And 
yonder dark, mysterious, ground-glass balcony 
high up in the wall, not unlike a church 
organ without the pipes the screen from 
whence an unseen eye watches the sorters 
who are listening to temptation when he 
has a nightmare, does he never dream of that? 

Then that enormous table upon which the 
public shoot their letters through the window- 
slits do the four men who sit at it never 
fancy themselves playing at whist, gathering 
up an enormous pack of red aces, with here 
and there a many-hued Valentine to stand for 
a Court card ? Their duty is termed ' facing,' ; 
or turning the ace-like seals downwards,' 
ready for stamping. 

The system of stamping, sorting, and 
arranging, is precisely similar to that in the 
District Branch, and by his recently acquired 
knowledge of it, the person who posted the 



10 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Contacted by 



coloured letters was able to trace them 
through every stage, till they were tied up 
ready to be ' bagged,' and sent away. While 
thus employed, his companion made the fol- 
lowing observations : 

In an opposite side of the enormous apart- 
ment, a good space and a few officials are 
devoted to repairing the carelessness of the 
public, which is in amount and extent 
scarcely credible. Upon an average, 300 
letters per day pass through the General 
Post-Ofnce totally unfastened ; chiefly in con- 
sequence of the use of what stationers are 
pleased to call ' adhesive ' envelopes. Many 
are virgin ones, without either seal or 
direction ; and not a few contain money. 
In Sir Francis Freeliug's time, the sum of 
50001. in Bank notes was found in a ' blank.' 
It was not till after some trouble that the 
sender was traced, and the cash restored to 
him. Not long since, an humble post-mistress 
of an obscure Welch post-town, unable to de- 
cipher the address on a letter, perceived, on 
examining it, the folds of several Bank notes 
protruding from a torn edge of the envelope. 
She securely re-enclosed it to the secretary of 
the Post-Office in St. Martin's-le-Grand ; who 
found the contents to be I5QOL, and the super- 
scription too much even for the hieroglyphic 
powers of the 'blind clerk.' Eventually the 
enclosures found their true destination. 

It is estimated that there lies, from time to 
time, in the Dead-Letter Office, undergoing 
the process of finding owners, some 11,000/. 
annually, in cash alone. In July, 1847, for 
instance only a two months' accumulation 
the post-haste of 4658 letters, all containing 
property, was arrested by the bad super- 
scriptions of the writers. They were con- 
signed after a searching inquest upon each by 
that efficient coroner, the 'blind clerk' to the 
Post-Office Morgue. There were Bank notes 
of the value of IOIOL, and money-orders for 
4071. 12-s. But most of these ill-directed letters 
contained coin in small sums, amounting to 
3101, 9s. 7d. On the 17th of July, 1847, there 
were lying in the Dead-Letter Office bills of 
Exchange for the immense sum of 40,4101. 
5s. Id. \ 

1 1 assure you,' said a gentleman high in this 
department, ' it is scarcely possible to take up 
a handful of letters without finding one with 
coin in it, despite the facilities afforded by the 
money-order system. All this is very distress- 
ing to us. The temptation it throws in the way 
of sorters, carriers, and other humble employes 
is greater than they ought to be subjected to. 
Seventy men have been discharged for dis- 
honesty from the District Office alone during 
tin' past two years.' 

' But the public do use the Money-Order 
Office extensively ? ' 

This question was startlingly answered by 
reference to a Parliamentary Return which 
showed that there were issued and paid in 
England and Wales alone, during the year 
which ended on the 5th of January, 1849, 



6,852,911 Post-office orders for sums amount- 
ing to the enormous aggregate of 13,678,3 7 7 '. 
3s. Id. 

Taking up a thin card-board box of artifi- 
cial flowers, which had been shaken into the 
form of an irregular rhomboid, under the 
pressure of several pounds' weight of letters 
and newspapers, a ' sub-president ' remarked 
' The faith the public have in us is extra- 
ordinary. Here is an article which is designed 
to go safely to Dublin ; yet not one single 
precaution, except this thin piece of twine, is 
taken by the sender to ensure its preservation. 
Here, again, is a pair of white satin shoes, fast 
losing their colour from friction with damp 
newspapers and the edges of books. The 
other day the toe of a similar packet protruded 
from its very thin casing, and the stamper 
not being able to stop his hand in time, orna- 
mented it, in vividly blue ink, with the words, 
" York, Feb. 1, 1850, D." You will see by this 
Parliamentary Return of the articles found 
in the Dead-Letter Office what curious things 
are trusted to our care.' 

The obliging gentleman then produced the 
document. Its lists showed, amongst other 
articles, tooth-picks, tooth-files, fishing-flies, 
an eye-glass, brad- awls, portraits, miniatures, 
a whistle, corkscrews, a silver watch, a pair of 
spurs, a bridle, a soldier's discharge and sailors' 
register tickets, samples of hops and corn, a 
Greek MS., silver spoons, gold thread, dinner, 
theatre, and pawn tickets, boxes of pills, shirts, 
night-caps, razors, all sorts of knitting and 
lace, 'doll's things,' and a vast variety of 
other articles, that would puzzle ingenuity to 
conjecture. 

' Besides carelessness we have to contend 
against ignorance,' was remarked as the visi- 
tors were introduced to the 'blind' table, and 
to the hawk-eyed gentleman who presides at it. 
'He is provided, you perceive, with a small 
library of local and general Directories, Court 
Guides, Army, Navy, and Clergy Lists ; and 
much he needs them, as will be seen by these 
fac-similes.' Several transcripts of curiously 
addressed letters were then produced. ' Where 
would you or I have sent a letter 

*T 

</<* 




certainly not to its proper destination, which 
turned out to be the " Amphitrite," Valpa- 
raiso, or elsewhere ? Who but our friend 
here would have found out that another boy 



Chatlee Dicfcens.] 



VALENTINE'S DAY AT THE POST-OFFICE. 



11 



in her Majesty's naval service said to be on 
board 

H. M. Steem Frieakt 
Vultur Uncon or els ware, 

belonged to the Steam Frigate Vulture, at 
Hong Kong ? Few would think that 

Mr. Weston 

Osburn Cottage 
llawait 

was a neighbour of her Majesty, and lived at 
Osborne Cottage, Isle of Wight.' 

The following additional epistolary puzzles 
were then read, amidst, as reporters say,' loud 
laughter : ' 

Mr. Laurence 
New Land 

Ivicum (High "Wycombe). 

W. Stratton 
Commonly 

Ceald teapot 

("We presume as a total abstinence man.) 
Weelin (Welwyn). 

Thorn Hoodless 
3 St. Ann Ct 
Searhoo Skur (Soho Square). 

The ingenious orthographies Ratlifhaivai 
and Ratlef Fieway went straight to the proper 
parties in RatcHffe Highway ; but it is a 
wonder how 

Mr. Diclc 
Bishop Cans 
ner the Wises 

got his letter, considering that his place of 
abode was near Devizes. 

For the next specimen of spelling there is 
some excuse. 'In England,' says a French 
traveller, ' what they write " Greenwich," 
they pronounce "Grinitch," and I am not 
quite sure that when they set down " So- 
lomon," they do not pronounce it " Nebu- 
chadnezzar." ' ' I much question,' continued 
one of the amateur Post-Office inspectors, 
' if either of us had never seen the name of 
the place to which the following superscrip- 
tion applies, that we should not have spelt it 
nearly similarly to the correspondent of 
Peter Robertson 

2 Compney 7 Batilian 
Eolyl Artirian. 
Owilige 
England. 

' Although the writer's ear misled him 
grievously in the other words, he has recorded 
the sound into which we render Woolwich 
with curious correctness.' 

' Innocent simplicity baulks us as much as 
ignorance,' remarked the head of the hiero- 
glyphic department. ' Here are one or two 
specimens of it : 

To Mr. Michl 
Darcy 

In the town of 
England. 



1 A schoolboy sends from Salisbury, 

To My Uncle Jon 

in London. 

' Another addressed the highest personage 
in the realm no doubt on particular business 
as 

Miss 

Queene Victoria. 

of England.' 

"While this amusement was going forward, 
the bustle in the adjoining rooms had reached 
its climax. It was approaching eight o'clock, 
and the ' Miller and his Men ' above stairs 
were delivering their sacks from the mouth of 
the ever-revolving mill at an incessant rate. 
These, filled nearly to the mouth with news- 
papers, were dragged to the tables, which the 
brass label fastened to the corner of each bag 
marked as its own, to have the letters inserted. 
Our friends rushed to where they saw ' Edin- 
burgh ' painted up on the walls, and there 
they beheld their yellow, green, and red letters 
in separate packets, though destined for the 
same place ; just as they had come in at 
first from Fleet Street. The bundles were 
popped in a trice into the Edinburgh bag, 
which was sealed and sent away. Exactly 
the same thing was happening to every 
bundle of letters, and to every bag on the 
premises. 

The clock now struck eight, and the two 
visitors looked round in astonishment. Had 
they been guests at the ball in ' Cinderella,,' 
when that clock struck they would not have 
been more astonished ; for hardly less rapidly 
did the fancy dresses of the postmen disap- 
pear, and the lights grow dim. This is 
the most striking peculiarity of the extra- 
ordinary establishment. Everything is done 
on military principles to minute time. The 
drill and subdivision of duties are so perfect, 
that the alternations throughout the day are 
high pressure and sudden collapse. At five 
minutes before eight the enormous offices were 
glaring with light and crowded with men; 
at ten minutes after eight the glass slipper 
had fallen off, and there was hardly a light 
or a living being visible. 

' Perhaps, however,' it was remarked as our 
friends were leaving the building, ' an invisible 
individual is now stealthily watching behind 
the ground glass screen. Only the other day 
he detected from it a sorter secreting 140 
sovereigns.' 

It is a deplorable thing that such a place of 
observation should be necessary ; but it is 
hardly less deplorable and this should be 
most earnestly impressed upon the reader 
that the public, now possessed of such conve- 
niences for remitting money, by means of Post- 
Office Orders and Registered Letters, should 
lightly throw temptation in the way of 
these clerks, by enclosing actual coin. No 
man can say that, placed in such circumstances 
from day to day, he could be stedfast. Many 
may hope they would be, and believe it ; but 



12 



HOUSEHOLD WOKDS. 



[Conducted by 



none can be sure. It is in the power, how- 
ever, of every conscientious and reflecting 
mind, to make quite sure that it has no part 
in this class of crimes. The prevention for 
this one great source of misery is made easy 
to the public hand ; and it is the public's 
bounden duty to adopt it. They who do not, 
cannot be blameless. 

Such is the substance of information ob- 
tained by our friends before they took leave 
of the mighty heart of the postal system of 
this country. 

In conclusion, they beg it to be under- 
stood that their experimental letters were not 
Valentines. 



ABEAHAM AND THE FIRE- 
WORSHIPPER, 

3 {Dramatic ^arable. 

SCENE The inside of a Tent, in which the Patriarch ABRAHAM 
and a PERSIA* TRAVELLER, a Fire- Worshipper, are sit- 
ting awhile after supper. 

Fire-Worshipper (aside). What have I said, or 

done, that by degrees 

Mine host hath changed his gracious countenance, 
Until he stareth on me, as in wrath ! 
Have I, 'twixt wake and sleep, lost his wise lore 1 
Or sit I thus too long, and he himself 
Would fain be sleeping ? I will speak to that. 
(Aloud.) Impute it, my great and gracious lord, 
Unto my feeble flesh, and not my folly, 
If mine old eyelids droop against their will, 
And I become as one that hath no sense 
Ev'n to the milk and honey of thy words. 
With my lord's leave, and his good servant's help, 
My limbs would creep to bed. 

Abraham (angrily quitting his seat). In this tent, 

never. 
Thou art a thankless and an impious man. 

fire-W. (rising in astonishment). A thankless 

and an impious man ! Oh, sir, 
My thanks have all but worshipp'd thee. 

Abraham. And whom 

Forgotten ? like the fawning dog I feed. 
From the foot-washing to the meal, and now 
To this thy cramm'd and dog-like wish for bed, 
I 've noted thee ; and never hast thou breath'd 
One syllable of prayer, or praise, or thanks, 
To the great God who made and feedeth all. 

Fire-W. Oh, sir, the God I worship is the Fire, 
The god of gods ; and seeing him not here, 
In any symbol, or on any shrine, 
I waited till he blessed mine eyes at morn, 
Sitting in heaven. 

Abraham. Oh, foul idolater ! 

And darest thou still to breathe in Abraham's 

tent! 
Forth with thee, wretch : for he that made thy 

god, 

And all thy tribe, and all the host of heaven, 
The invisible and only dreadful God, 
Will speak to thee this night, out in the storm, 
And try thee in thy foolish god, the Fire, 
Which with his fingers he makes lightnings of. 
Hark to the rising of his robes, the winds, 
And get thee forth, and wait him. 

[A violent storm is heard rising. 

Fire- W. What ! unhoused ! 

And on a night like this ! me, poor old man, 



A hundred years of age ! 

Abraham (urging him away). Not reverencing 
The God of ages, thou revoltcst reverence. 

Firc-W. Thou hadst a father : think of his 

grey hairs, 
Houseless, and cuff'd by such a storm as this. 

Abraham. God is thy father, and thou own'st 
not him. 

Fire- W. I have a wife, as aged as myself, 
And if she learn my death, she '11 not survive it, 
No, not a day ; she is so used to me ; 
So propp'd up by her other feeble self. 
I pray thee, strike us not both down. 

Abraham (still urging Mm). God made 

Husband and wife, and must be own'd of them, 
Else he must needs disown them. 

Fire-W. We have children, 

One of them, sir, a daughter, who, next week, 
Will all day long be going in and out, 
Upon the watch for me ; she, too, a wife, 
And will be soon a mother. Spare, oh spare her ! 
She 's a good creature, and not strong. 

Abraham. Mine ears 

Are deaf to all things but thy blasphemy, 
And to the coming of the Lord and God, 
Who will this night condemn thee. 

[ABRAHAM pushes him out ; and remains alone, speaking. 

For if ever 

God came at night-time forth upon the world, 
'Tis now this instant. Hark to the huge winds, 
The cataracts of hail, and rocky thunder, 
Splitting like quarries of the stony clouds, 
Beneath the touching of the foot of God. 
That was God's speaking in the heavens, that 

last 

And inward utterance coming by itself. 
What is it shaketh thus thy servant, Lord, 
Making him fear, that in some loud rebuke 
To this idolator, whom thou abhorrest, 
Terror will slay himself? Lo, the earth quakes 
Beneath my feet, and God is surely here. 

[A dead silence ; and then a still small voice. 

The Voice. Abraham ! 

Abrafiam. Where art thou, Lord? and who is 

it that speaks 

So sweetly in mine ear, to bid me turn 
And dare to face thy presence ! 

The Voice. Who but Ho 

Whose mightiest utterance thou hast yet to learn? 
I was not in the whirlwind, Abraham ; 
I was not in the thunder, or the earthquake ; 
But I am in the still small voice. 
Where is the stranger whom thou tookest in ? 

Abraham. Lord, he denied thee, and I drove 
him forth. 

Tfu; Voice. Then didst thou do what God him- 
self forbore. 

Have I, although he did deny me, borne 
With his injuriousness these hundred years, 
And couldst thou not endure him one sole night, 
And such a night as this ] 

A braham. Lord ! I have sinn'd, 

And will go forth, and if he be not dead, 
Will call him back, and tell him of thy mercies 
Both to himself, and me. 

The Voice. Behold, and learn ! 

[The Voice retires while it is speaking ; and a fold of the 
tent is turned back, disclosing the FlRB-WOBSHlPPEB, 
who is calmly sleeping, with his head on the back of a 
house-lamb. 

Abraftam. loving God ! the lamb itself 's his 

pillow, 
And on his forehead is a balmy dew, 



Charles Dickens.] 



THE AMUSEMENTS OF THE PEOPLE. 



13 



And in his sleep ho smileth. I, meantime, 
Poor and proud fool, with my presumptuous hands, 
Not God's, was dealing judgments on his head, 
Which God himself had cradled ! Oh, mcthinks 
There's more in this than prophet yet hath known, 
And Faith, some day, will all in Love be shown. 



THE AMUSEMENTS OF THE PEOPLE. 



As one half of the world is said not to know 
how the other half lives, so it maybe affirmed 
that the upper half of the world neither knows 
nor greatly cares how the lower half amuses 
itself. Believing that it does not care, mainly 
because it does not know, we purpose occa- 
sionally recording a few facts on this subject. 

The general character of the lower class of 
dramatic amusements is a very significant 
sign of a people, and a very good test of 
their intellectual condition. We design to 
make our readers acquainted in the first place 
with a few of our experiences under this head 
in the metropolis. 

It is probable that nothing will ever root 
out from among the common people an innate 
love they have for dramatic entertainment in 
some form or other. It would be a very 
doubtful benefit to society, we think, if it Could 
be rooted out. The Polytechnic Institution 
in Regent Street, where an infinite variety of 
ingenious models are exhibited and explained, 
and where lectures comprising a quantity of 
useful information on many practical subjects 
are delivered, is a great public benefit and 
a wonderful place, but we think a people 
formed entirely in their hours of leisure 
by Polytechnic Institutions would be an 
uncomfortable community. We would rather 
not have to appeal to the generous sym- 
pathies of a man of five-and-twenty, in 
respect of some affliction of which he had 
had no personal experience, who had passed 
all his holidays, when a boy, among cranks 
and cogwheels. We should be more disposed 
to trust him if he had been brought into 
occasional contact with a Maid and a Magpie ; 
if he had made one or two diversions into the 
Forest of Bondy ; or had even gone the length 
of a Christmas Pantomime. There is a range 
of imagination in most of us, which no amount 
of steam-engines will satisfy ; and which The- 
great -exhibition -of-the -works-of-industry-of- 
all-nations, itself, will probably leave un- 
appeased. The lower we go, the more natural 
it is that the best-relished provision for this 
should be found in dramatic entertainments ; 
as at once the most obvious, the least trouble- 
some, and the most real, of all escapes out of 
the literal world. Joe Whelks, of the New 
Cut, Lambeth, is not much of a reader, has no 
great store of books, no very commodious 
room to read in, no very decided inclination to 
read, and no power at all of presenting vividly 
before his mind's eye what he reads about. 
But, put Joe in the gallery of the Victoria 
Theatre ; show him doors and windows in the 
scene that will open and shut, and that people 



can get in and out of ; tell him a story with 
these aids, and by the help of live men and 
women dressed up, confiding to him their 
innermost secrets, in voices audible half a mile 
off ; and Joe will unravel a story through all 
its entanglements, and sit there as long after 
midnight as you have anything left to show 
him. Accordingly, the Theatres to which 
Mr. Whelks resorts, are always full ; and 
whatever changes of fashion the drama knows 
elsewhere, it is always fashionable in the 
New Cut. 

The question, then, might not unna- 
turally arise, one would suppose, whether 
Mr. Whelks's education is at all susceptible 
of improvement,* through the agency of his 
theatrical tastes. How far it is improved at 
present, our readers shall judge for themselves. 

In affording them the means of doing so, 
we wish to disclaim any grave imputation on 
those who are concerned in ministering to the 
dramatic gratification of Mr. Whelks. Heavily 
taxed, wholly unassisted by the State, de- 
serted by the gentry, and quite unrecognised 
as a means of public instruction, the higher 
English Drama has declined. Those who 
would live to please Mr. Whelks, must please 
Mr. Whelks to live. It is not the Manager's 
province to hold the Mirror up to Nature, 
but to Mr. Whelks the only person who 
acknowledges him. If, in like manner, the 
actor's nature, like the dyer's hand, become sub- 
dued to what he works in, the actor can hardly 
be blamed for it. He grinds hard at his vo- 
cation, is often steeped in direful poverty, 
and lives, at the best, in a little world of 
mockeries. It is bad enough to give away a 
great estate six nights a-week, and want a 
shilling ; to preside at imaginary banquets, 
hungry for a mutton chop ; to smack the lips 
over a tankard of toast and water, and declaim 
about the mellow produce of the sunny vine- 
yard on the banks of the Rhine ; to be a 
rattling young lover, with the measles at 
home ; and to paint sorrow over, with burnt 
cork and rouge ; without being called upon 
to despise his vocation too. If he can utter 
the trash to which he is condemned, with 
any relish, so much the better for him, 
Heaven knows ; and peace be with him ! 

A few weeks ago, we went to one of Mr. 
Whelks's favourite Theatres, to see an attrac- 
tive Melo-Drama called MAY MORNING, OR 
THE MYSTERY OF 1715, AND THE MURDER! 
We had an idea that the former of these 
titles might refer to the month in which 
either the Mystery or the Murder happened, 
but we found it to be the name of the heroine, 
the pride of Keswick Vale ; who was ' called 
May Morning ' (after a common custom among 
the English Peasantry) ' from her bright eyes 
and merry laugh.' Of this young lady, it may 
be observed, in passing, that she subsequently 
sustained every possible calamity of human 
existence, in a white muslin gown with blue 
tucks ; and that she did every conceivable 
and inconceivable thing with a pistol, that 



14 



[Conducted by 



could anyhow be effected by that description 
of fire-arms. 

The Theatre was extremely full. The prices 
of admission were, to the boxes, a shilling ; to 
the pit, sixpence ; to the gallery, threepence. 
The gallery was of enormous dimensions 
(among the company, in the front row, we 
observed Mr. Whelks) ; and overflowing with 
occupants. It required no close observation 
of the attentive faces, rising one above another, 
to the very door in the roof, and squeezed and 
jammed in, regardless of all discomforts, even 
there, to impress a stranger with a sense of 
its being highly desirable to lose no possible 
chance of effecting any mental improvement 
in that great audience. 

The company in the pit were not very clean 
or sweet-savoured, but there were some good- 
humoured young mechanics among them, with 
their wives. These were generally accom- 
panied by ' the baby,' insomuch that the pit 
was a perfect nursery. No effect made on 
the stage was so curious, as the looking down 
on the quiet faces of these babies fast asleep, 
after looking up at the staring sea of heads in 
the gallery. There were a good many cold fried 
soles in the pit, besides ; and a variety of flat 
stone bottles, of all portable sizes. 

The audience in the boxes was of much the 
same character (babies and fish excepted) as 
the audience in the pit. A private in the 
Foot Guards sat in the next box ; and a person- 
age who wore pins on his coat instead of 
buttons, and was in such a damp habit of 
living as to be quite mouldy, was our nearest 
neighbour. In several parts of the house we 
noticed some young pickpockets of our ac- 
quaintance ; but as they were evidently there 
as private individuals, and not in their public 
capacity, we were little disturbed by their pre- 
sence. For we consider the hours of idleness 
passed by this class of society as so much gain 
to society at large ; and wedo not joininawhim- 
sical sort of lamentation that is generally made 
over Uiem,whentheyare found to be unoccupied. 

As we made these observations the curtain 
rose, and we were presently in possession of 
the following particulars. 

Sir George Elmore, a melancholy Baronet 
with every appearance of being in that ad- 
vanced stage of indigestion in which Mr. 
Morrison's patients usually are, when they 
happen to hear, through Mr. Moat, of the 
surprising effects of his Vegetable Pills, was 
found to be living in a very large castle, in the 
society of one round table, two chairs, and 
Captain George Elmore, 'his supposed son, 
the Child of Mystery, and the Man of Crime.' 
The Captain, in addition to an undutiful 
habit of bullying his father on all occasions, was 
a prey to many vices : foremost among which 
may be mentioned his desertion of his wife, 
'Estella de Neva, a Spanish lady,' and his deter- 
mination unlawfully to possess himself of May 
Morning ; M. M. being then on the eve of 
marriage to Will Stanmore, a cheerful sailor, 
with very loose legs. 



The strongest evidence, at first, of the 
Captain's being the Child of Mystery and the 
Man of Crime was deducible from his boots, 
which, being very high and wide, and ap- 
parently made of sticking-plaister, justified the 
worst theatrical suspicions to his disadvantage. 
And indeed he presently turned out as ill as 
could be desired : getting into May Morni 
Cottage by the window after dark ; refusing 
to ' unhand ' May Morning when required to 
do so by that laxly ; waking May Morning's 
only surviving parent, a blind old gentleman 
with a black ribbon over his eyes, whom we 
shall call Mr. Stars, as his name was stated 
in the bill thus ******; and showing 
himself desperately bent on carrying off M;)y 
Morning by force of arms. Even this was 
not the worst of the Captain ; for, being foiled 
in his diabolical purpose temporarily by 
means of knives and pistols, providentially 
caught up and directed at him by May Morn- 
ing, and finally, for the time being, by the 
advent of Will Stanmore he caused one Slink, 
his adherent, to denounce Will Stamcore as a 
rebel, and got that cheerful mariner carried 
off, and shut up in prison. At about the same 
period of the Captain's career, there suddenly 
appeared in his father's castle, a dark com- 
plexioned lady of the name of Manuella, ' a 
Zingara Woman from the Pyrenean moun- 
tains ; the wild wanderer of the heath, and 
the pronouncer of the prophecy,' who threw 
the melancholy baronet, his supposed father, 
into the greatest confusion by asking him 
what he had upon his conscience, and by 
pronouncing mysterious rhymes concerning 
the Child of Mystery and the Man of Crime, 
to a low trembling of fiddles. Matters were 
in this state when the Theatre resounded 
with applause, and Mr. Whelks fell into a fit 
of unbounded enthusiasm, consequent on the 
entrance of ' Michael the Mendicant.' 

At first we referred something of the cor- 
diality with which Michael the Mendicant 
was greeted, to the fact of his being ' made up' 
with an excessively dirty face, which might 
create a bond of union between himself an<l a 
large majority of the audience. But it soon 
came out that Michael the Mendicant had 
been hired in old time by Sir George Elmore, 
to murder his (Sir George Elmore's) elder 
brother which he had done ; notwithstand- 
ing which little affair of honour, Michael was 
in reality a very good fellow ; quite a tender- 
hearted man ; who, on hearing of the Captain's 
determination to settle Will Stanmore, cried 
out, 'What ! more bel-ood ! ' and fell flat over- 
powered by his nice sense of humanity. In like 
manner, in describing that small error of judg- 
ment into which he had allowed himself to be 
tempted by money, this gentleman exclaimed, 
' I ster-ruck him down, and fel-ed in er-orror ! ' 
and further he remarked, with honest pride, 
' I have liveder as a beggar a roadersider 
vaigerant, but no ker-rime since then has 
stained these hands ! ' All these sentiments of 
the worthy man were hailed with showers of 



Dicbmi.] AN INCIDENT IN THE LIFE OF MADEMOISELLE CLAIRON. 1.5 



applause ; and when, in the excitement of his 
feelings on one occasion, after a soliloquy, he 
'went off' on his lack, kicking and shuffling 
along the ground, after the manner of bold 
spirits in trouble, who object to be taken 
to the station-house, the cheering was tre- 
mendous. 

And to see how little harm he had done, 
after all ! Sir George Elmore 's elder brother 
was NOT dead. Not he ! He recovered, after 
this sensitive creature had ' fel-ed in er-orror,' 
and, putting a black ribbon over his eyes to 
disguise himself, went and lived in a modest 
retirement with his only child. In short, Mr. 
Stars was the identical individual ! When 
Will Stanmore turned out to be the wrongful 
Sir George Elmore's son, instead of the Child 
of Mystery and Man of Crime, who turned out 
to be Michael's son, (a change having been 
effected, in revenge, by the lady from the 
Pyrenean Mountains, who became the Wild 
Wanderer of the Heath, in consequence of the 
wrongful Sir George Elmore's perfidy to her 
and desertion of her), Mr. Stars went up to 
the Castle, and mentioned to his murdering 
brother how it was. Mr. Stars said it was 
all right ; he bore no malice ; he had kept 
out of the way, in order that his murdering 
brother (to whose numerous virtues he was 
no stranger) might enjoy the property ; and 
now he would propose that they should make 
it up and dine together. The murdering 
brother immediately consented, embraced the 
Wild Wanderer, and it is supposed sent instruc- 
tions to Doctors' Commons for a license to 
marry her. After which, they were all very 
comfortable indeed. For it is not much to 
try to murder your brother for the sake of 
his property, if you only suborn such a deli- 
cate assassin as Michael the Mendicant ! 

All this did not tend to the satisfaction 
of the Child of Mystery and Man of Crime, 
who was so little pleased by the general hap- 
piness, that he shot Will Stanmore, now joy- 
fully out of prison and going to be married 
directly to May Morning, and carried oft' the 
body, and May Morning to boot, to a lone 
hut. Here, Will Stanmore, laid out for dead 
at fifteen minutes past twelve, P.M., arose at 
seventeen minutes past, infinitely fresher than 
most daisies, and fought two strong men 
single-handed. However, the Wild Wanderer, 
arriving with a party of male wild wanderers, 
who were always at her disposal and the 
murdering brother arriving arm-in-arm with 
Mr. Stars stopped the combat, confounded 
the Child of Mystery and Man of Crime, and 
blessed the lovers. 

The adventures of 'RED RIVEN THE BAN- 
DIT ' concluded the moral lesson of the evening. 
But, feeling by this time a little fatigued, and 
believing that we already discerned in the 
countenance of Mr. Whelks a sufficient confu- 
sion between right and wrong to last him for 
one night, we retired : the rather as we in- 
tended to meet him, shortly, at another place 
of dramatic entertainment for the people. 



AN INCIDENT IN THE LIFE OF 
E CLAIRON. 



THE occurrence related in the letter which 
we are about to quote, is a remarkable in- 
stance of those apparently supernatural visi- 
tations which it has been found so difficult 
(if not impossible) to explain and account for. 
It does not appear to have been known to 
Scott, Brewster, or any other English writer 
who has collected and endeavoured to expound 
those ghostly phenomena. 

Clairon was the greatest tragedian that ever 
appeared on the French stage ; holding on it 
a supremacy similar to that of Siddons on our 
own. She was a woman of powerful intellect, 
and had the merit of effecting a complete re- 
volution in the French school of tragic acting ; 
substituted an easy, varied, and natural de- 
livery for the stilted and monotonous decla- 
mation which had till then prevailed, and 
being the first to consult classic taste and 
propriety of costume. Her mind was culti- 
vated by habits of intimacy with the most 
distinguished men of her day ; and she was 
one of the most brilliant ornaments of those 
literary circles which the contemporary Me- 
moir writers describe in such glowing colours. 
In an age of corruption, unparalleled in 
mc:lern times, Mademoiselle Clairon was not 
proof against the temptations to which her 
position exposed her. But a lofty spirit, and 
some religious principles, which she retained 
amidst a generation of infidels and scoffers, 
saved her from degrading vices, and enabled 
her to spend an old age protracted beyond the 
usual period of human life, in respectability 
and honour. 

She died in 1803, at the age of eighty. She 
was nearly seventy when the following letter 
was written. It was addressed to M. Henri 
Meister, a man of some eminence among the 
literati of that period ; the associate of Diderot, 
Grimm, D'Holbach, M. and Madame Necker, 
&c., and the cottaborateur of Grimm in his 
famous ' Correspondence.' This gentleman 
was Clairon's ' literary executor ; ' having 
been intrusted with her Memoirs, written by 
herself, and published after her death. 

With this preface we give Mademoiselle 
Clairon's narrative, written in her old age, of 
an occurrence which had taken place half a 
century before. 

'In 1743, my youth, and my success on the 
stage, had drawn round me a good many 

admirers. M. de S , the son of a merchant 

in Brittany, about thirty years old, handsome, 
and possessed of considerable talent, was one 
of those who were most strongly attached to 
me. His conversation and manners were those 
of a man of education and good society, and 
the reserve and timidity which distinguished 
his attention made a favourable impression on 
me. After a green-room acquaintance of 
sometime I permitted him to visit me at my 



10 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



house, but a better knowledge of his situation 
and character was not to his advantage. 
Ashamed of being only a bourgeois, he was 
squandering his fortune at Paris under an 
assumed title. His temper was severe and 
gloomy : he knew mankind too well, he said, 
not to despise and avoid them. He wished to 
see no one but me, and desired from me, in 
return, a similar sacrifice of the world. I 
saw, from this time, the necessity, for his own 
sake as well as mine, of destroying his hopes 
by reducing our intercourse to terms of less 
intimacy. My behaviour brought upon him 
a violent illness, during which I showed him 
every mark of friendly interest, but firmly 
refused to deviate from the course I had 
adopted. My steadiness only deepened his 
wound ; and unhappily, at this time, a 
treacherous relative, to whom he had in- 
trusted the management of his affairs, took 
advantage of his helpless condition by robbing 
him, and leaving him so destitute that he was 
obliged to accept the little money I had, for 
his subsistence, and the attendance which his 
condition required. You must feel, my dear 
friend, the importance of never revealing this 
secret. I respect his memory, and I would 
not expose him to the insulting pity of the 
world. Preserve, then, the religious silence 
which after many years I now break for the 
first time. 

' At length he recovered his property, but 
never his health ; and thinking I was doing 
him a service by keeping him at a distance 
from me, I constantly refused to receive either 
his letters or his visits. 

' Two years and a half elapsed between this 
period and that of his death. He sent to beg 
me to see him once more in his last moments, 
but I thought it necessary not to comply with 
his wish. He died, having with him only his 
domestics, and an old lady, his sole companion 
for a long time. He lodged at that time on 
the Rempart, near the Chaussee d'Antin ; I 
resided in the Rue de Bussy, near the Abbaye 
St. Germain. My mother lived with me ; 
and that night we had a little party to supper. 
We were very gay, and I was singing a lively 
air, when the clock struck eleven, and the 
sound was succeeded by a long and piercing 
cry of unearthly horror. The company looked 
aghast ; I fainted, and remained for a quarter 
of an hour totally insensible. We then began 
to reason about the nature of so frightful a 
sound, and it was agreed to set a watch in 
the street in case it were repeated. 

'It was repeated very often. All our 
servants, my friends, my neighbours, even the 
police, heard the same cry, always at the 
same hour, always proceeding from under my 
windows, and appearing to come from the 
empty air. I could not doubt that it was 
meant entirely for me. I rarely supped 
abroad ; but the nights I did so, nothing was 
heard ; and several times, when T came home, 
and was asking my mother and servants if 
they had heard anything, it suddenly burst 



forth, as if in the midst of us. One night, 

the President de B , at whose house I had 

supped, desired to see me safe home. While 
he was bidding me " good night " at my door, 
the cry broke out seemingly from something 
between him and me. He, like all Paris, was 
aware of the story ; but he was so horrified, 
that his servants lifted him into his carriage 
more dead than alive. 

' Another time, I asked my comrade Rosely 
to accompany me to the Rue St. Honoru, to 
choose some stuffs, and then to pay a visit to 

Mademoiselle de St. P , who lived near 

the Porte Saint-Denis. My ghost story (as it 
was called) was the subject of our whole con- 
versation. This intelligent young man was 
struck by my adventure, though he did not 
believe there was anything supernatural in 
it. He pressed me to evoke the phantom, 
promising to believe if it answered my call. 
With weak audacity I complied, and suddenly 
the cry was heard three times with fearful 
loudness and rapidity. When we arrived at 
our friend's door both of us were found 
senseless in the carriage. 

'After this scene, I remained for some 
months without hearing anything. I thought 
it was all over ; but I was mistaken. 

'All the public performances had been 
transferred to Versailles on account of the 
marriage of the Dauphin. We were to pass 
three days there, but sufficient lodgings were 
not provided for us. Madame Grandval had 
no apartment ; and I offered to share with 
her the room with two beds which had been 
assigned to me in the avenue of St. Cloud. I 
gave her one of the beds and took the other. 
While my maid was undressing to lie down 
beside me, I said to her, " We are at the 
world's end here, and it is dreadful weather ; 
the cry would be somewhat puzzled to get at 
us." In a moment it rang through the room. 
Madame Grandval ran in her night-dress from 
top to bottom of the house, in which nobody 
closed an eye for the rest of the night. This, 
however, was the last time the cry was heard. 

'Seven or eight days afterwards, while I 
was chatting with my usual evening circle, 
the sound of the clock striking eleven was 
followed by the report of a gun fired at one 
of the windows. We all heard the noise, we all 
saw the fire, yet the window was undamaged. 
We concluded that some one sought my life, 
and that it was necessary to take precautions 
against another attempt. The Intendant des 
Menus Plaisirs, who was present, flew to the 
house of his friend, M. de Marville, the Lieu- 
tenant of Police. The houses opposite mine 
were instantly searched, and for several days 
were guarded from top to bottom. My house 
was closely examined ; the street was filled 
with spies in all possible disguises. But, not- 
withstanding all this vigilance, the same 
explosion was heard and seen for three whole 
months always at the same hour, and at the 
same window-pane, without any one being 
able to discover from whence it proceeded. 



Charles Dicke s .] AN INCIDENT IN THE LIFE OF MADEMOISELLE CLAIRON. 17 



This fact stands recorded in the registers of 
the police. 

' Nothing was heard for some days ; but, 
having been invited by Mademoiselle Du- 
mesnil* to join a little evening party at her 
house near the Barridre blanche, I got into a 
hackney-coach at eleven o'clock with my 
maid. It was clear moonlight as we passed 
along the Boulevards, which were then begin- 
ning to be studded with houses. While we 
were looking at the half-finished buildings, my 
maid said, " Was it not in this neighbourhood 

that M. de S died?" "From what I 

have heard," I answered, " I think it should 
be there " pointing with my finger to a house 
before us. From that house came the same 
gunshot that I had heard before. It seemed 
to traverse our carriage, and the coachman 
set off at full speed, thinking we were attacked 
by robbers. We arrived at Mademoiselle Du- 
mesnil's in a state of the utmost terror ; a 
feeling I did not get rid of for a long time.' 

[Mademoiselle Clairon gives some further 
details similar to the above, and adds that the 
noises finally ceased in about two years and a 
half. After this, intending to change her 
residence, she put up a bill on the house she 
was leaving ; and many people made the pre- 
text of looking at the apartments an excuse 
for gratifying their curiosi f y to see, in her 
every-day guise, the great tragedian of the 
Theatre Fransais.] 

' One day I was told that an old lady desired 
to see my rooms. Having always had a great 
respect for the aged, I went down to receive 
her. An unaccountable emotion seized me on 
seeing her, and I perceived that she was moved 
in a similar manner. I begged her to sit down, 
and we were both silent for some time. At 
length she spoke, and, after some preparation, 
came to the subject of her visit. 

' " I was, mademoiselle, the best friend of 

M. de S , and the only friend whom he 

would see during the last year of his life. We 
spoke of you incessantly ; I urging him to 
forget you, he protesting that he would love 
you beyond the tomb. Your eyes which are 
full of tears allow me to ask you why you 
made him so wretched ; and how, with such 
a mind and such feelings as yours, you could 
refuse him the consolation of once more seeing 
and speaking to you ? " 

' " We cannot," I answered, " command our 
sentiments. M. de S had merit and esti- 
mable qualities ; but his gloomy, bitter, and 
overbearing temper made me equally afraid 
of his company, his friendship, and his love. 
To make him happy, I must have renounced 
all intercourse with society, and even the 
exercise of my talents. I was poor and proud ; 
I desire, and hope I shall ever desire, to owe 
nothing to any one but myself. My friend- 
ship for him prompted me to use every en- 
deavour to lead him to more just and reason- 
able sentiments : failing in this, and persuaded 

* Tlio celebrated tragedian. 



that his obstinacy proceeded less from the 
excess of his passion than from the violence of 
his character, I took the firm resolution to 
separate from him entirely. I refused to see 
him in his last moments, because the sight 
would have rent my heart ; because I feared 
to appear too barbarous if I remained in- 
flexible, and to make myself wretched if I 
yielded. Such, madame, are the motives of 
my conduct, motives for which, I think, no 
one can blame me." 

' " It would indeed," said the lady, " be un- 
just to condemn you. My poor friend himself 
in his reasonable moments acknowledged all 
that he owed you. But his passion and his 
malady overcame him, and your refusal to see 
him hastened his last moments. He was 
counting the minutes, when at half-past ten, 
his servant came to tell him that decidedly you 
would not come. After a moment's silence, he 
took me by the hand with a frightful ex- 
pression of despair. ' Barbarous woman ! ' 
he cried ; ' but she will gain nothing by her 
cruelty. As I have followed her in life, I 
shall follow her in death ! ' I endeavoured to 
calm him ; he was dead." 

' I need scarcely tell you, my dear friend, 
what effect these last words had upon me. 
Their analogy to all my apparitions tilled me 
with terror, but time and reflection calmed 
my feelings. The consideration that I was. 
neither the better nor the worse for all that 
had happened to me, have led me to ascribe 
it all to chance. I do not, indeed, know what 
chance is ; but it cannot be denied that the 
something which goes by that name has a 
great influence on all that passes in the world. 

' Such is my story ; do with it what you 
will. If you intend to make it public, I beg 
you to suppress the initial letter of the name, 
and the name of the province.' 

This last injunction was not, as we see r . 
strictly complied with ; but, at the distance 
of half a century, the suppression of a name 
was probably of little consequence. 

There is no reason to doubt the entire 
truth of Mademoiselle Clairon's narrative. 
The incidents which she relates made such a 
deep and enduring impression on her mind, 
that it remained uneffaced during the whole 
course of her brilliant career, and, almost at 
the close of a long life spent in the bustle and 
business of the world, inspired her with 
solemn and religious thoughts. Those inci- 
dents can scarcely be ascribed to delusions of 
her imagination ; for she had a strong and 
cultivated mind, not likely to be influenced 
by superstitious credulity ; and besides, the 
mysterious sounds were heard by others as 
well as herself, and had become the subject 
of general conversation in Paris. The sus- 
picion of a trick or conspiracy never seems 
to have occurred to her, though such a sup- 
position is the only way in which the circum- 
stances can be explained ; and we are con- 
vinced that this explanation, though not quite 



18 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



satisfactory in every particular, is the real one. 
Several portentous occurrences, equally or 
more marvellous, have thus been accounted for. 

Our readers remember the history of the 
Commissioners of the Roundhead Parliament 
for the sequestration of the royal domains, 
who were terrified to death, and at lust fairly 
driven out of the Palace of Woodstock, by a 
series of diabolical sounds and sights, which 
were long afterwards discovered to be the 
work of one of their own servants, Joe 
Tomkins by name, a loyalist in the disguise 
of a puritan. The famous ' Cock-lane Ghost,' 
which kept the town in agitation for months, 
and baffled the penetration of multitudes of 
the divines, philosophers, and literati of the 
day, was a young girl of some eleven or twelve 
years old, whose mysterious knockings were 
produced by such simple means, that their 
remaining so long undetected is the most 
marvellous part of the story. This child was 
the agent of a conspiracy formed by her 
father, with some confederates, to ruin the 
reputation of a gentleman by means of pre- 
tended revelations from the dead. For this 
conspiracy these persons were tried, and the 
father, the most guilty party, underwent the 
punishment of the pillory. 

A more recent story is that of the ' Stock- 
well Ghost,' which forms the subject 'of a 
volume published in 1772, and is shortly told 
by Mr. Hone in the first volume of his 'Every 
Day Book.' Mrs. Golding, an elderly lady 
residing at Stockwell, in Surrey, had her 
house disturbed by portents, which not only 
terrified her and her family, but spread alarm 
through the vicinity. Strange noises were 
heard proceeding from empty parts of the 
house, and heavy articles of furniture, glass 
and earthenware, were thrown down and 
broken in pieces before the eyes of the family 
and neighbours. Mrs. Golding, driven by 
terror from her own dwelling, took refuge, 
first in one neighbouring house, and then in 
another, and thither the prodigies followed 
her. It was observed that her maid -servant, 
Ann Robinson, was always present when these 
things took place, either in Mrs. Golding's 
own house, or in those of the neighbours. This 
girl, who had lived only about a week with 
her mistress, became the subject of mistrust 
and was dismissed, after which the distur- 
bances entirely ceased. But the matter rested 
on mere suspicion. 'Scarcely any one,' says 
Mr. Hone, ' who lived at that time listened 
patiently to the presumption, or without attri- 
buting the whole to witchcraft.' At length 
Mr. Hone himself obtained a solution of the 
mystery from a gentleman who had become 
acquainted with Ann Robinson many years 
after the affair happened, and to whom she 
had confessed that she alone had produced 
all these supernatural horrors, by fixing 
wires or horse-hairs to different articles, ac- 
cording as they were heavy or light, and thus 
throwing them down, with other devices 
equally simple, which the terror and confusion 



of the spectators prevented them from de- 
tecting. The girl began these tricks to for- 
ward some love affair, and continued them 
for amusement when she saw the effect they 
produced. 

Remembering these cases, we can have 
little doubt that Mademoiselle Clairon's maid 
was the author of the noises which threw her 
mistress and her friends into such consterna- 
tion. Her own house was generally the 
place where these things happened ; and on 
the most remarkable occasions where they 
happened elsewhere, it is expressly mentioned 
that the maid was present. At St. Cloud it 
was to the maid, who was her bed-fellow, 
that Clairon was congratulating herself on 
being out of the way of the cry, when it 
suddenly was heard in the very room. She 
had her maid in the carriage with her on the 
Boulevards, and it was immediately after the 
girl had asked her a question about the death 

of M. de S that the gun-shot was heard, 

which seemed to traverse the carriage. Had 
the maid a confederate perhaps her fellow- 
servant on the box to whom she might 
have given the signal ? When Mademoiselle 
Clairon went a-shopping to the Rue St. 
Honore, she probably had her maid with her, 
either in or outside the carriage ; and, indeed, 
in every instance the noises took place when 
the maid would most probably have been 
present, or close at hand. In regard to the 
unearthly cry, she might easily have pro- 
duced it herself without any great skill in 
ventriloquism, or the art of imitating sounds ; 
a supposition which is rendered the more 
probable, as its realisation was rendered the 
more easy, by the fact of no words having 
been uttered merely a wild cry. Most of 
the common itinerant ventriloquists on our 
public race-courses can titter speeches for an 
imaginary person without any perceptible 
motion of the lips ; the utterance of a mere 
sound in this way would be infinitely less 
difficult. 

The noises resembling the report of fire- 
arms (very likely to have been unconsciously, 
and in perfect good faith, exaggerated by the 
terror of the hearers) may have been pro- 
duced by a confederate fellow-servant, or a 
lover. It is to be observed, that the first 
time this seeming report was heard, the 
houses opposite were guarded by the police, 
and spies were placed in the street, but Ma- 
demoiselle Clairon's own house was merely 
'examined.' It is evident that these pre- 
cautions, however effectual against a plot 
conducted from without, could have no effect 
whatever against tricks played within her 
house by one or more of her own servants. 

As to the maid-servant's motives for en- 
gaging in this series of deceptions, many may 
have existed and been sufficiently strong ; 
the lightest, which we shall state last, would 
probably be the strongest. She may have 

been in communication with M. de S 's 

relations for some hidden purpose which 



Charles Dickens.] 



A BUNDLE OF EMIGEANTS' LETTERS. 



19 



never was effected. How far this circum- 
stance may be connected with the date of the 
first portent, the very night of the young 
man's death, or whether that coincidence was 
simply accidental, is matter for conjecture. 
The old lady, his relative, who afterwards 
visited Clairon, and told her a tale calculated 
to fill her with superstitious dread, may her- 
self have been the maid-servant's employer 
for some similar purpose ; or (which is at 
least equally probable) the tale may have had 
nothing whatever to do with the sound, and 
may have been perfectly true. But all ex- 
perience in such cases assures us that the 
love of mischief, or the love of power, and 
the desire of being important, would be 
sufficient motives to the maid for such a de- 
ception. The more frightened Clairon was, 
the more necessaiy and valuable her maid 
became to her, naturally. A thousand in- 
stances of long-continued deception on the 
part of young women, begun in mere folly, 
and continued for the reasons just mentioned, 
though continued at an immense cost of 
trouble, resolution, and self-denial in all 
other respects, are familiar to most readers 
of strange transactions, medical and other- 
wise. There seem to be strong grounds for 
the conclusion that the maid was the prin- 
cipal, if not the sole agent in this otherwise 
supernatural part of this remarkable story. 



THE WAYSIDE WELL. 



! THE pretty wayside well, 
Wreathed about with roses, 

Where, beguiled with soothing spell, 
Weary foot reposes. 

With a welcome fresh and green, 
Wave thy border grasses, 

By the dusty traveller seen, 
Sighing as he passes. 

Treads the drover on thy sward, 
Conies the beggar to thee, 

Free as gentleman or lord 
From his steed to woo thee. 

Thou from parching lip dost earn 
Many a murmured blessing; 

And enjoyest in thy turn 
Innocent caressing. 

Fair the greeting face ascends, 

Like a naiad daughter, 
When the peasant lassie bends 

To thy trembling water. 

When she leans upon her pail, 
Glancing o'er the meadow, 

Sweet shall fall the whispered tale, 
Soft the double shadow ! 

Mortals love thy crystal cup ; 

Nature seems to pet thee, 
Seething Summer's fiery lip 

Hath no power to fret thee. 

Coolly sheltered, hid from smirch, 

In thy cavelet shady, 
O'er thee in a silver birch 

Stoops a forest lady. 



To thy glass the Star of Eve 
Shyly dares to bend her ; 

Matron Moon thy depths receive, 
Globed in mellow splendour. 

Bounteous Spring ! for ever own 
Undisturbed thy station, 

Not to thirsty lips alone 
Serving mild donation. 

Never come the newt or frog, 
Pebble thrown in malice, 

Mud, or withered leaves, to clog 
Or defile thy chalice ; 

Heaven be still within thy ken, 
Through the veil thou wearest, 

Glimpsing clearest, as with men, 
When the boughs are barest ! 



A BUNDLE OF EMIGEANTS' 
LETTEES. 



A SCHEME has been propounded by MRS. 
CHISHOLM, a lady to whose great exertions in 
reference to the emigration of the poor, espe- 
cially of her own sex, the public is much in- 
debted, for the establishment of what it is 
proposed to call ' A Family Colonisation Loan 
Society.' 

The design is based, in the main, upon three 
positions. First ' that it is melancholy to re- 
flect that thousands of British subjects should 
wander about, more like spectres than beings 
of flesh and blood ; and that hundreds should 
die from starvation, while our vast colonies 
could provide abundantly for them.' Secondly, 
' that in England a society is much needed, 
the great moral aim of which should be to 
check crime, by protecting and encouraging 
virtue.' Thirdly, 'that the zealous endea- 
vours of the charitable, combined with the in- 
dustrious and frugal efforts of the working 
classes themselves? could accomplish great ends 
in the way of emigration. 

For these leading considerations, it is pro- 
posed that the projected society should assist 
persons desiring to emigrate, by loans of 
money for two years or longer without 
interest. That these loans should be made 
to friendly parties or groups of approved 
individuals, acquainted with the character of 
each other, and becoming jointly and severally 
responsible for the loans made to them. That 
agents should be appointed in different parts 
of Australia, to maintain a general knowledge 
of the emigrants so assisted, and a general 
communication with them ; and that the ad- 
vances should always bear a certain propor- 
tion to the amount of the funds raised by the 
emigrants theniselves, or by their friends in 
the Colonies, at the time of their making ap- 
plication for assistance to quit this countiy. 

The re-uniting of various members of one 
family when some have emigrated, while 
others have been left at home ; and the re- 
moval of the difficulty too often found in 
raising sufficient funds to effect this re-union, 
is one important object of Mrs. Chisholm's 



20 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



scheme. And it must not be forgotten that 
money lent and repaid, would be lent again 
and again ; and thus the good effected by one 
small sum would become quite incalculable. 

It is admitted in the published letter setting 
forth the design, that the friends and well- 
wishers of the society can hardly expect the 
full confidence of the public at its commence- 
ment ; the great moral problem being yet to 
be solved ; ' whether the various grades of our 
working classes can be trusted, or whether, 
with all our religious, moral, social, and com- 
mercial advantages, we are rearing rogues or 
honest men ;' at the same time it is understood 
on the authority of the projectress, that in 
numerous cases where private advances have 
been made with similar objects, the rule has 
been gratitude and honesty not ingratitude 
and dishonesty ; and that her personal ex- 
perience on this point, under many disadvanta- 
geous circumstances, is powerfully encouraging. 

There may be difficulties in the details of 
such a plan ; and it is possible that many per- 
sons who would retain an honourable sense 
of an obligation to an individual, would 
subside into a more lax morality, if the obli- 
gation were to a Board. The observation is 
trite enough, that a number of individuals 
united in an association will do, without any 
scruple, in the name of the society, what each 
of them would deem unworthy of his own 
character ; but there are two sides to this 
question, and it is equally certain that many 
persons will take advantage of an associated 
body, if they can, who would hesitate to cheat 
any single member of it. 

Reserving such questions, there can be little 
doubt, we apprehend, of the soundness of the 
three positions we have briefly stated. It is 
unquestionably melancholy that thousands 
upon thousands of people, ready and willing 
to labour, should be wearing away life hope- 
lessly hi this island, while within a few months' 
sail within a few weeks' when steam commu- 
nication with Australia shall be established 
there are vast tracts of country where no man 
who is willing to work hard (but that he must 
be, or he had best not go there), can ever know 
want. That we have come to an absurd pass, 
in our costly regai-d for those who have com- 
mitted crime, and our neglect of those who 
have not, must be every day more manifest to 
rational men whose thoughts are not confined 
within the walls of prisons, but can take the 
air outside. Nor is it to be contested either 
that where it is possible for the poor, by great 
self-denial, to scrape together a portion of the 
means of going abroad, it is extremely import- 
ant to encourage them to do. so, in practical 
illustration of the wholesome precept that 
Heaven helps those who help themselves ; or 
that they who do so help themselves, give a 
proof of their fitness for emigration, in one es- 
sential, and establish a strong claim on legiti- 
mate sympathy and benevolence, to do the rest. 

Besides which, it appears to us that there 
are strong reasons in favour of this emigration 



of groups of people. It is not only that colo- 
nial experience, acting on this side of the 
water, can wisely proportion the amount of 
strength and the amount of weakness in each 
group the number of single people, the 
number of married people, the number of 
men, the number of women, and the number 
of children but it is, that from little commu- 
nities thus established, other and larger com- 
munities will rise in tune, bound together in 
a love of the old country still fondly spoken 
of as Home, in the remembrance of many old 
struggles shared together, of many new ties 
formed since, and in the salutary influence and 
restraint of a kind of social opinion, even 
amid the wild solitudes of Australia. 

These remarks have originated in the cir- 
cumstance of our having on our desk certain 
letters from emigrants in Australia, written 
to relatives and friends here to serve no 
purpose, to support no theory, but simply 
to relate how they are doing, and what they 
know about the country, and to express their 
desire to have their dearest relatives and friends 
about them. As the truth, whatever it may 
be, on such a subject, cannot be, we think, too 
plainly stated or too widely diffused in this 
country, we consider ourselves fortunate in 
the possession of these documents. We are 
responsible, of course, for their being genuine, 
and we write with the originals before us. The 
passages we shall give are accurately copied, 
with no correction, and with no omission, but 
that of names when they occur. 

The first is from a man in Sydney, who writes 
to his brother. He 'would like to come to 
England for one day and no more to see the 
Railways and the baptist chappel.' 

If you can emigrate out i shall be able to provide 
for you Send me word in your next what progress 
you are making toward finding your way out here 
do not stop there to staarve for as bad as Sydney 
is no one that is willing to work need want i am 
beginning to think of expecting some or all of you 
out i have told you what i can do and look to God 
and he will do the rest for you dear brothere send 
answer to this as soon as Possoble that is if you 
can understand it but it is wrote so bad i think it 
will take some time to make it out. 

The next is from a man at Melbourne 
writing to his wife : 

My Dear and most beloved Wife this is the 7th 
letters I have written and sincerly hope this may 
find you and my dear children in good health like- 
wise all my friends and acquaintances but I have 
not yet received one from you excepting the one 
Mr W brought I am realy very anxious about you 
particularly as I hear such bad accounts from homo 
you are in my thoughts day and night Oh that I 
could see you here then you would spend the 
hapiest days you have over yet spent there is not 
the care and trouble on your mind here as there 
is at home but God knows I have my share of it 
about you but I persevere for your benefit. My 
dear wife do keep up your spirits and come as soon 
as you can you will not have to study wich is the 
cheapest way to get a meal here you can judge for 



Charles Dickens.] 



A BUNDLE OF EMIGRANTS' LETTERS. 



21 



yourself when I tell you that the best flour is only 
20 shillings the sack and such quality that you 
cannot buy in England the bread is the best bread 
I ever eat in my life and the meat very fine and no 
price at all for instance I saw a man on Saturday 
night last buy a very fine round of beef and a fine 
leg of mutton for 2 shillings and for all that 
Butchers is a very good trade here there are several 
Establishments called the boiling down houses 
where they boil down Bullocks and sheep for the 
fat only and one house alone will boil down 800 
and sometimes a 1000 in one day this may seein 
almost incredible to you but it is a fact and the 
beast must be of the best quality sheeps heads and 
plucks you can have by wheel barrows full for 
fetching away for people never think of eating 
such stuff' as they call it ox tails you can have for 
fetching away but yOu must skin them yourselfe 
so much for meat. Tea is Is 6d Ib but it can be 
bought for 1* by the chest Coffee is 9d Ib wich 
can be bought for 5d but you must roast yourselfe 
or send it to the roasters but you can do it at 
home very well for every body has what is called 
a lamp oven here which costs about 7 or 8 shilling 
and you can bake your bread or your dinners at 
your own fireplace Potatoes are rather dear they 
are Id Ib but they are butifully fine onions the 
same price Cabbages li and 2d each fresh butter 
Is 6d Ib and salt do Is 2rf Ib Mushrooms grow very 
plentiful you may go and get a bushell some time 
before breakfast I have taken a deal of notice in 
the people here they do not study economy as 
they ought if you where here we could save money 
fast I am determined to buy a peice of ground 
shortly and I intend joining the building society 
but I dont know what to do untill I heare from you 
I am daily expecting a letter from you I know I 
could not have had one much sooner for I recon 
upon ten months to get an answer. I am still 
living in the little cottage and I have worked veiy 
hard lattely I dare say you will be suprised when 
I tell you that I have been at work as a joiner 
the last 3 months and I have made 3 Chests of 
drawers at home in my over time since for a 
Master Cabinet Maker I expect a winters work at 
the carpentering as there are a great many Build- 
ings going on here I am happy to say that I enjoy 
most excellent health indeed it would be a sin to 
wish for a better state of health I never have had 
the slightest cough since I came here I have had a 
slight touch of my old Complaut in the legs but I 
have got a presription which cures it directly the 
Chemist that made it up told me that my stomach 
must be like iron and my Constitution as strong 
as a horse to take It the doctor told me to wear 
flanell drawers so I got 2 pair and siuce then I 
never have it. Rents are rising rapidly here you 
cant get a cottage with 2 rooms under 7 or 8 
shillings a week they have rose my rent to 5s I 
almost forgot to say that I shall have 10s monthly 
to pay in the Building Sosiety and 10s entrance it 
began in January so I shall have the back money 
to pay and it is expected that it will run out in 
six. years and then you will get 120 pounds out 
if you let it lay the whole time there is two of 
them and they are going on nourishing. I have 
been at work at the builders now 11 weeks and have 
not lost an hour till last week and then I only lost 
a quarter which was Is Qd but I got 10s profit for 
I had an infant to bury. I made the coffin after 
I done work that is the first funeral I have been 
to they never keep a corpse more than 2 days. I 



have been thinking a great deal about Alfred wether 
his master will give him his time out to come with 
you Tell my dear sarah that I have got a beau- 
tiful parrot for her I tried hard to rear some to send 
home to jane and one for poor C. but they died I 
think of Mr and Mrs C. and fameley very often 
I wish he was here to have a glass of ale and a 
pipe with him but he must not expect a long 
pipe here for they smoke nothing but short pipes 
about 6 inches long and the blacker they are 
the better they like them and you have to 
give 4 each for them give my best respects to 
him I shall always be glad to hear of his wel- 
fare I do hope it will be in my power to reward 
him for his kindness before long and to Mrs C. and 
fameley give my love to my brothers and sisters 
with one exception tell master he would do well 
here it is an excelent business here indeed one of 
the best give my love to my dear children. Oh 
that the day may not be far distant when my 
happiness may be more Complete by seeing them 
and you on the happy shore in the Province of 
Victoria this is the new name given by the Queen 
for Port Phillip. My dear as soon as I get a letter 
from you letting me know that you are coming 
then I shall begin to make up things for my selfe ! 
but untill then I am unsettled which way to act 
for I have saved a few pounds wich will be very 
muck wanted to lay out and I have bought iny- 
selfe several things since I have been here that I 
could not do without, I have been very carefull 
and am almost a Teetotaler I very seldom drink 
anything but I will live well and I feel the benefit 
of it in my strength for I have lately often worked 
from 4 in the morning till 11 at night and dont 
feel half so tired as I used with half a days work but 
sometimes I am almost compelled to go and get 
a pint of beer for the sake of company as I am 
at home by my selfe and no one to speak to. I 
get very dull there is no notice taken of Easter 
here. I worked all day on Good friday and Easter 
monday the Melbourn races are thought the most 
of it lasts 3 days but I worked all the time and 
did not go to see them I cant enjoy pleasure 
untill you come to share it with me. 

This poor fellow seems to be possessed of 
an appetite which must have been very incon- 
venient to him at home. This is his account 
of a light supper he had one night : 

I almost forgot to say that I wanted something 
for my supper Saturday night so I went to the 
butchers to get some chops and I had a pound 
and half of the loin 2d fine sheep hearts and a 
sheep kidney and how much do you think they 
was why only 4d the lot a fine bullocks kidney is 
only 2 and a very fine shin of beef 4d or 6d what 
will the London butcher say to this. Poultry is 
rather dear but it is about the same price as 
at home. 

Finding himself not quite well, and perhaps 
a little affected in his digestion by the trifling 
meal just described, he put himself on short 
commons as follows : 

Yesterday being sunday I took some medecin so 
I got 4 Ibs ^ of the neck of mutton and made my- 
selfe some nice broth and some suet dumplings 
the meat only cost me 4d^ I think my dear I have 
stated facts wich ought to cheer you up and you 
must consider that the sun has been clouded from 



22 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



us a long time but thank God that cloud I hope is 
being removed and our sunny day are yet to come. 
I have no doubt about it I can assure you I have not 
the slightos wish to see England again I dontknow 
wether I told you that all sorts of clothing is much 
about the same here as home there is some very 
line linen drapers shops here there is one thing 
that is very dear here and that is artificial flowers 
the comonest is a shilling a sprig flannel is 1 8 a 
yard the ladies dress very fashionable here My 
dear as I have nothing more to say at present I 
must conclude with hoping you will keep up 
your spirits and that you may have a pleasant and 
prosperous Voyage wich there is no fear of for it 
is considered the best voyage out of london. I 
shall write directly I receive your letter which I 
am sure will not be long. 

A gentleman, who lias been ordained as a 
clergyman of the Church of England, writes 
thus of Sydney at present : 

Sydney is at present crowded with respectable 
young men, Bankers and merchants' clerks, art- 
ists and such kind of people, are not wanted at all, so 
that many of them having but small means are 
quite in despair. They are almost useless to the 
settlers and people in the Bush and can find no 
occupation in town and are therefore liable to 
every temptation. I hope you will exert all your 
influence in preventing such people from coming 
out here, unless they come prepared to go into the 
Bush as shepherds, &c. 

A vast number of the orphans who have come 
out here have turned out ill in consequence of the 
bad training at home. They fancy they are young 
ladies and that they ought to sit and knit or 
just take a walk on the race course or in the 
domain, with children. They have not the 
slightest idea of industry, nor do they understand 
what household work is. All this they should 
be practically taught in the old country, and it 
would save much disappointment and misery when 
they arrive here. 

A poor woman at Sydney, re-united to her 
children, writes, 

Dear Friend, 

Your kind note of Dec. 4th I have 
received informing me that you had obtained 
passage to this port for my children. They safely 
arrived by the Castle Eden all in good health. 
They however left their box of clothes behind at 
Plymouth and I have not as yet been able to get 
any account of it. It appears to be lost, but as 
they arrived safe I do not' care to trouble any one 
to enquire for this. The oldest girl got married 
about five months since to a respectable young 
man a tradesman, a pretty good match the next 
boy is apprenticed six months ago to the wheel- 
wright business and the next boy is four months 
apprenticed to a boot and shoemaker the other 
the little one I have myself. My own health is 
pretty good, and although times are rather dull 
just now yet I hope that I shall find enough to do 
to keep along with. Many ships have arrived here 
with emigrants and this for a time causes rather 
more to be looking for situations than there are 
situations to be filled, but most of them go into 
the country. 

An orphan girl at Eathurst, to whom the 
Emigration Company granted a free passage, 



writes thence to a lady in Ireland, ' If in case 
any emigrants were coming to Sydney, to send 
me my little sisters which I left at home? 
Another sighs from 'Patrick's Plains, New 
South Wales,' for another sister. In these 
cases, and in that of the wife of the good 
fellow with the appetite, it seems to xis that 
a society on the proposed plan would do 
great service, and run little risk. Also in 
such an instance as the following : 

Melbourne, Port Phillip 
My Dear Brother and Sister 

I now take this opportunity of writing a 
more lengthened letter than my last which I 
wrote in haste in which I Enclosed a Draft for 
the sum of twenty five pounds 25 payable to 
you on the Bank of Australasia in Austin Friars 
London thirty days after sight, which I hope you 
will get Safe. I also send by this ship's Mail 
another Draft for the same money only to Ensure 
the money safe in case one ship might get lost on 
the passage to London and one Draft I Keep my- 
self. I hope as soon as you receive my letter that 
you will not make any Delay but write to me 
Immediately and I hope and trust you will send 
me a long letter for nothing will give me more 
pleasure than to hear a little about you all not 
Omitting one of you you wrote to me for 30 but 
25 is all I can spare for the present. I have been 
perfectly aware of the state of England Ever Since 
I left or I should have been among you many 
years since but now I have banished all thoughts 
from my mind of ever seeing England, the way to 
Say it is don't want, for ever since I have been 
here I have not seen anybody in want but at the 
present time wages is not quite so good as they 
were when I wrote to you first that is in Conse- 
quence of the late Influx of Emigration of late, 
you say you have not left a stone unturned to try 
to get to me the reason is you dont understand 
farming nor sheep, I am sorry poor mother has 
met with the accident of which you Say poor 
Creature Mother must by this time be quite In- 
firm, and I am happy to hear my sister marys 
Child I will now say a man Thomas is quite well 
I suppose he cannot recollect me 20 years since I 
saw him, I have often thought of him when he 
first Called me uncle, If I am not mistaken you 
are the only one who had written anything to me 
about him I was very fond of him and my Kind 
love to him and I hope he has the use of his feet. 
I was not aware of you being married you never 
stated how long you had been so whether girls or 
boys what age, now this is unkind of you was it 
my case I should have told you all particulars 
with their age and Everything, assist poor Mother 
all you Can for what kindness I have received 
from her now think of that. It appears to me 
that you are all in a thriving way you four Chil- 
dren and your Sister Eight, as I stated in my last 
letter here I am Tom nobody but myself but you 
must Endeavour to Increase your family to the 
same number. I suppose your wife will laugh at 
me making so bold to Say so but she must forgive 
me and she must Say so in your next Letter to 
mo my kind love to her and your Children and I 
hope I shall have that happiness of seeing you all 
with me before this time 1 2 months. I will try to 
make you all as comfortable as my circumstances 
will admit please the Almighty to spare me but I 
have my troubles in another way to yours. I be- 



Charles Dickens.] 



A BUNDLE OF EMIGRANTS' LETTERS. 



23 



lieve I told you I had separated from rny wife 
some years since In Consequence of her taking to 
Drink but she followed me over to port phillip of 
late since you reed my letter. I gave her another 
trial and I expended about 20 but all to no pur- 
pose therefore I have left her about four months 
since she has kept me back considerably in pocket 
but still I Care not, so long as the almighty spares 
my health how happy I should be if you was with 
me, but please God in the meanwliile I will Endea- 
vour to purchase about an Acre of Land on some 
of the Townships so that it will at all times be 
your Own and a home as long as you live but at 
the present time I hold a Ticket for which I gave 
five Guineas for landed property to be drawn in a 
Lottery in the port philip District at present 
belonging to the Bank of Australasia when you 
take your Draft for the 25 which I remit to you 
ask any of the proprietors of the Bank and no 
Doubt they will Explain all to you about the 
Drawing for they are all prizes from 640 acres of 
land in a prize to -^ an acre as also Dwelling houses, 
should I be fortunate to get a grand Drawing it 
shall be all for the sole benefit of you and yours I 
do certainly expect things will get rather .worse 
that is as far as regards wages, but at the present 
time when all things is considered now being the 
middle of winter the slackest time of year but 
still should it be as I anticipe, then it will bo Ten 
times better than England as you Say you can 
scarcely keep the wolf from the Door but here 
you can for you Can and we do buy a sheep 
at a time from 4s 6d to 6s each oftentimes a milk- 
ing cow from 1,0,0, to thirty shillings some- 
times less a Sack of flour of 200 weight of the 
best quallity for one pound sugar 2d$ per Ib Is 6d 
per Ib for Tea Everything will seem Quite strange 
if you come I must Initiate you in our colonial 
ways you will not be like many who arrives here 
strangers that know no one. I hope should you 
come you will bring as many newspapers as you 
can as also books should you have any for I am 
very fond of reading should you Engage with the 
Emigration agents to come Out you will Imme- 
diately post a letter in London to me stating the 
name of the Ship you will be likely to arrive in 
so that on her Arrival in port phillip I will come 
on board for you as also on your arrival here you 
will send a letter Directly from the Ship to me 
by the post as probably by that means I may get 
one Safe for where the Shipping Come to anchor 
is nine miles from Melbourne Just off williams 
Town. I sent you the first Draft for the 25 by 
mail that went to London in the ship General 
Palmer as I am to send by two separate Ships on 
the receipt of any of my letters you will write to 
me Immediately you will if you possibly can to 
bring some recommendations they may be a ser- 
vice to you att all Events they will do you no 
harm should it cause you any trouble never mind. 
I suppose I told you in my last Letter of my 
cousin Williams Death some years since the Bank 
here charged me 1,0,0 to send you the 25 
Mr C. or Mrs C. will no Doubt put you in the way 
to come to me as I have remitted all I Can spare, 
had I have reed your letter one Month Earlier I 
would have sent you 40 they say farm labourers 
is all they want here I Say no I Consider that my 
Judgment and Experience of 20 years will allow 
me to say something on that head for I have seen 
persons and that many who arrived from London 
I can safely Say never knew what a plough was 



meant for untill they came to these Colonies they 
have made far better farm servants in all its 
Branches than people from the rural Districts of 
England who had been brought up to a farm from 
their Infancy and that in the space of a Couple of 
years in fact the Londoners is Considered the best 
working men in the Colonies upon an average 
they so soon pick anything up and they are I may 
say the majority of them are the hardest working 
men such as Bush carpententers splitters and 
fencers. I stated in one of my letters some years 
Since to Mother about me being Deaf but I am 
happy to say that I am now but very slightly and 
that in my right hear first through a Cold but 
this last four Months I have been at times been 
slightly troubled with spitting blood and palpita- 
tion of the Heart but I am under a Course of 
Medicine and getting bother I expect all through 
a cold that I Caught, Medicine and Doctor's 
Charges are very Dear here all has to be paid for. 
I also Enclose to you the second Draft for the 
25 in this Letter as also a memorandum of the 
present rate of wages for working people as you 
must expect there has been a great reduction 
since you received my first letter the Consequence 
of so many arriving of late from England but still 
if you was here it would not Interfere materially 
with you while I am alive please God to see that 
you and yours would be more comfortobly situated 
than many who Arrives entire strangers to this 
province. 

The writer of the next, sent out as a labour- 
ing man, and then very poor, now holds an 
influential position at Sydney. The reader 
will smile at his description of 'mean and 
unmanly occupations : ' 

In Sydney times are rather dull at present 
various causes have given rise to this; the dis- 
turbed state of Europe has sensibly affected 
commerce. The Gold hunting Mania of Chala- 
forina has put to flight many small capitalists, 
who will ultimately return if permitted by the 
daring freebooters of that Country. The steady 
stream of immigration pouring into Sydney 
has brought down to a fair standard the exor- 
bitant wages given to female Servants. For 
this the Public are mainly indebted to you. It 
would be well if possible to advise all persons 
before leaving home, not upon any account to 
hang about the purlieus of Sydney, or the other 
Towns of the Interior for a dislike is generally 
acquired in those places for a bush life. It is 
deplorable to see the Number of able bodied men 
who eke out a miserable subsistence in Sydney in 
mean and unmanly occupations, such as hawking 
through the Public Street fish, fruit, vegitables, 
pies all hot and various other things as equally 
disreputable, whilst they could if they possessed a 
spark of Manliness or common energy of mind 
obtain respectable employment in the interior, 
but their Weak and fantestic minds conjure up a 
thousand Hobgoblins in the Shape of Blacks, 
Snakes, flying foxes, Squirls, Mad Bulls, and other 
dreaded Animals, as equally ridiculous. A man 
:oming to New South Wales 16000 miles in search 
of a living and remaining hi Sydney after he lands, 
is like to an individual who digs all day long in 
search of some hidden treasure, who when he dis- 
covers it declines to take it up, because it would 
be too burthensome to take home. 



24 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



The letter with which we shall conclude 
our extracts, is from a convict the only one 
before us, from any member of that class. 

New South Wales. 
Dear Affectionate Wife and family 

I with pleasure embrace this first Oppor- 
tunity of addressing these few lines to you hoping 
by the blessing of God they will find you in the 
perfect enjoyment of Good Health as it leaves me 
at present thank God for it. I wrote you a letter 
to you while our stay at the Cape of Good Hope 
which I hoped you received. We abode there one 
week and we arrived at Port Jackson in Sydney 
on the 8th day of June after a fine and pleasing 
voyage for 4 Callender Months wanting two days 
only. Nothing worth Mentioning happened all 
the Voyage. Only 2 of our unhapy Number was 
taken away from us by death. While lying in 
Sydney Harbour I engaged for one twelve Month 
and am now for the present time situated iip in 
the country, in not so quite a comfortable position 
as I should wish but I must bear it for a short 
time, and as conveniences will allow I shall be in 
Sydney to work. Dear Wife You can come out 
to Me as soon as it pleases you and also my Sister 
and I will provide for you a comfortable Situation 
and Home as a good one as ever lies in my power, 
And When you come or send You must come to 
My Masters House at Sydney. He is a rich a 
Gentleman known by every one in this colony, 
and you must come out as emigrants, and when 
you come ask for me as a emigrant and never use 
the word Convict or the ship Hashemy on your 
Voyage never let it be once named among, you, 
let no one know your business but your own 
selves, and When you Land come to my Masters 
a enquire for me and thats quite sufficient. Dear 
Wife do not you cumber yourself with no more 
luggage than is necessary for they are of no use 
out here you can bring your bed and bedclothes 
and sufficient clothes for yourself and family. You 
can buy for yourself a tin hook pot to hang 011 
before the fire in the Gaily to boil tea at times 
when it is required. And a few Oranges and 
lemons for the Sea Sickness or any thing you 
please. Dear Wife this is a fine Country and a 
beautiful climate it is like a perpetual Sumer, 
and I think it will prove congenial for your health, 
No wild beast nor anything of the Sort out here, 
fine beautiful birds and every thing seems to smile 
with pleasure Cockatoos as plentiful and common 
as crows in England Provisions of Every kind is 
very cheap you can buy Beef at Id penny per Ib 
flour I^d per Ib tea 2s per Ib and Sugar at 2d 
per Ib and other things as cheep, but this is 
every poor mans diet. Wages is not so very high 
out here not so much as they are in England. 
I have Nothing more to Say at Present more than 
this is just the country where we can cud our 
days in peace and contentment when we meet. 
I send my kind love and best of wishes to you all 
and every one related to you and me, to your 
father and Mother. Sisters and Brothers, aquain- 
tenccs and friends and to every one who may 
ask for me. I send my kind love to you all and 
especially to my wife and children. 

Farewell. 

These ' simple annals of the poor,' written 
for no eyes but those to which they were ad- 
dressed, are surely very pleasant to read, and 
very affecting. We earnestly commend to all 



who may peruse them, the remembrance of 
these affectionate longings of the heart, and 
the consideration of the question whether 
money would not be well lent or even spent in 
re-uniting relatives and friends thus parted, 
and in sending a steady succession of people 
of all laborious classes (not of any one parti- 
cular pursuit) from places where they are not 
wanted, and are miserable, to places where 
they are wanted, and can be happy and 
independent. 



MILKING IN AUSTRALIA. This is a very serious 
operation. First, say at four o'clock in the 
morning, you drive the cows into the stock-yard, 
where the calves have been penned up all the 
previous night, in a hutch in one corner. Then 
you have to commence a chase after the first cow, 
who, with a perversity common to Australian 
females, expects to be pursued two or three times 
round the yard, ankle deep in dust or mud, 
according to the season, with loud halloas and a 
thick stick. This done, she generally proceeds 
up to the fail, a kind of pillory, and permits her 
neck to be. made fast The cow safe in the fail, 
her near hind leg is stretched out to its full 
length, and tied to a convenient post with the 
universal cordage of Australia, a piece of green 
hide. At this stage, in ordinary cases, the milking 
commences ; but it was one of the hobbies of Mr. 
Jumsorew, a practice I have never seen followed 
in any other part of the colony, that the cow's tail 
should be held tight during the operation. This 
arduous duty I conscientiously performed for 
some weeks, until it happened one day that a 
young heifer slipped her head out of an ill-fastened 
fail, upset milkman and milkpail, charged the 
Head Stockman, who was unloosing the calves, 
to the serious damage of a new pair of fustians, 
and ended, in spite of all my efforts, in clearing 
the top rail of the stock-yard, leaving me flat 
and flabbergasted at the foot of the fence. 
from ' Scenes in the Life of a Bushman' ( Unpub- 
lished.) 

METAL IN SEA-WATER. The French savans, 
MM. Malaguti, Durocher, and Sarzcaud, announce 
that they have detected in the waters of the 
ocean the presence of copper, lead, and silver. 
The water examined appeai-s to have been taken 
some leagues off the coast of St. Malo, and the 
fucoidal plants of that district arc also found to 
contain silver. The F. terrains and the F. ccra- 
moides yielded ashes containing 1-1 00000th, while 
the water of the sea contained but little more than 
l-100000000th. They state also that they find 
silver in sea-salt, in ordinary muriatic acid, and in 
the soda of commerce ; and that they hare ex- 
amined the rock-salt of Lorraine, in which also 
they discover this metal. Beyond this, pursuing 
their researches on terrestrial plants, they have 
obtained such indications as leave no doubt of the 
existence of silver in vegetable tissues. Lead is 
said to be always found in the ashes of marine 
plants, usually about an 18-100000th part- and 
invariably a trace of copper. Should these results 
be confirmed by further examination, we shall 
have advanced considerably towards a knowledge 
of the phenomena of the formation of mineral 
veins. A thenceum. 



Published at the Office, No. IB, Wellington Street North, Strand; and 
runted by BUADBUUT & EYANS, \Vhitelriars, London. 



"Familiar in their Mouths as HOUSEHOLD WOEDS" SHAKESPEAHB. 



HOUSEHOLD WOEDS. 

A WEEKLY JOUENAL. 
CONDUCTED BY CHARLES DICKENS. 



- 2.] 



SATURDAY, APEIL 6, 1850. 



[P 



A CHILD'S DEEAM' OF A STAE. 



THERE was once a child, and he strolled 
about a good deal, and thought' of a number 
of things. He had a sister, who was a child 
too, and his constant companion. These 
two used to wonder all day long. They won- 
dered at the beauty of the flowers ; they 
wondered at the height and blueness of the 
sky ; they wondered at the depth of the 
bright water ; they Avondered at the goodness 
and the power of GOD who made the lovely 
world. 

They used to say to one another, sometimes, 
Supposing all the children upon earth were 
to die, would the flowers, and the water, and 
the sky, be sorry 1 They believed they would 
be sorry. For, said they, the buds are the 
children of the flowers, and the little playful 
streams that gambol down the hill-sides are 
the children of the water ; and the smallest 
bright specks, playing at hide and seek in the 
sky all night, must surely be the children of 
the stars ; and they would all be grieved to 
see their playmates, the children of men, no 
more. 

There was one clear shining star that used 
to come out in the sky before the rest, near 
the church spire, above the graves. It was 
larger and more beautiful, they thought, than 
all the others, and every night they watched 
for it, standing hand in hand at a window. 
Whoever saw it first, cried out, "I see the 
star ! " And often they cried out both to- 
gether, knowing so well when it would rise, 
and where. So they grew to be such friends 
with it, that, before lying down in their beds, 
they always looked out once again, to bid it 
gjod night ; and when they were turning 
round to sleep, they used to say, " God bless 
the star ! " 

But wliile she was still very young, oh very 
very young, the sister drooped, and came to be 
so weak that she could no longer stand in the 
window at night; and then the child looked 
s;i(lly out by himself, and when he saw the 
star, turned round and said to the patient pale 
face on the bed, " I see the star ! " and then a 
smile would come upon the face, and a little 
weak voice used to say, "God bless my brother 
and the star ! " 

And so the time came, all too soon ! when 
the child looked out alone, and when there 



was no face on the bed; and when there was 
a little grave among the graves, not there 
before; and when the star made long rays 
down towards him, as he saw it through his 
tears. 

Now, these rays were so bright, and they 
seemed to make such a shining way from 
earth to Heaven, that when the child \veirc 
to his solitary bed, he dreamed about the 
star ; and dreamed that, lying where he 
was, he saw a train of people taken up that 
sparkling road by angels. And the star, 
opening, showed him a great world of light, 
where many more such angels waited to re- 
ceive them. 

All these angels, who were waiting, turned 
their beaming eyes upon the people who 
were carried up into the star ; and some 
came out from the long rows in which they 
stood, and fell upon the people's necks, and 
kissed them tenderly, and went away with 
them down avenues of light, and were so 
happy in their company, that lying in his bed 
he wept for joy. 

But, there were many angels who did not 
go with them, and among them one he 
knew. The patient face that once had lain 
upon the bed was glorified and radiant, but 
his heart found out his sister among all the 
host. 

His sister's angel lingered near the entrance 
of the star, and said to the leader among 
those who had brought the people thither : 

" Is my brother come ? " 

And he said " No." 

She was turning hopefully away, when the 
child stretched out his arms, and cried " O, 
sister, I am here ! Take me ! " and then she 
turned her beaming eyes upon him, and it 
was night ; and the star was shining into the 
room, making long rays down towards him as 
he saw it through his tears. 

From that hour forth, the child looked out 
upon the star as on the Home he was to go 
to, when his time should come ; and he 
thought that he did not belong to the earth 
alone, but to the star too, because of his 
sister's angel gone before. 

There was a baby born to be a brother 
to the child ; and while he was so little 
that he never yet had spoken word, he 
stretched his tiny form out on his bed, and 
die:!. 



VOL. I. 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



Again the child dreamed of the opened 
star, and of the company of angels, and the 
train of people, and the rows of angels with 
their beaming eyes all turned upon those 
people's faees. 

Said his sister's angel to the leader : 

" Is my brother come ? " 

And he said " Not that one, but another." 

As the child beheld his brother's angel in 
her arms, he cried, "O, sister, I am here! 
Take me ! " And she turned and smiled upon 
him, and the star was shining. 

He grew to be a young man, and was busy 
at his books, when an old servant came to 
him, and said : 

"Thy mother is no more. I bring her 
blessing on her darling son ! " 

Again at night he saw the star, and all that 
former company. Said his sister's angel to 
the leader : 

" Is my brother come 1 " 

And he said, " Thy mother ! " 

A mighty cry of joy went forth through all 
the star, because the mother was re-united to 
her two children. And he stretched out his 
arms and cried, " O, mother, sister, and 
brother, I am here ! Take me ! " And they 
answered him " Not yet," and the star was 
shining. 

He grew to be a man, whose hair was turn- 
ing grey, and he was sitting in his chair by 
the fireside, heavy, with grief, and with his 
face bedewed with tears, when the star opened 
once again. 

Said his sister's angel to the leader, " Is 
my brother come 1 " 

And he said, "Nay, but his maiden 
daughter." 

And the man who had been the child saw 
his daughter, newly lost to him, a celestial 
creature among those three, and he said 
" My daughter's head is on my sister's bosom, 
and her arm is round my mother's neck, 
and at her feet there is the baby of old time, 
and I can bear the parting from her, GOD 
be praised ! " 

And the star was shining. 

Thus the child came to be an old man, and 
his once smooth face was wrinkled, and his 
steps were slow and feeble, and his back was 
bent. And one night as he lay upon his bed, 
his children standing round, he cried, as he 
had cried so long ago : 

" I see the star ! " 

They whispered one another " He is dying." 

And he said, " I am. My age is fall- 
ing from me like a garment, and I move 
towards the star as a child. And O, my 
Father, now I thank thee that it has so 
often opened, to receive those dear ones who 
await rue ! " 

And the star was shining ; and it shines 
upon his grave. 



THE TRUE STORY OF A COAL FJRE. 

IN THREE CHAPTERS. CHAPTER. I. 



ONE winter's evening, when the snow lay 
as thick as a great featlu-r-brd all over the 
garden, and was knee-deep in the meadow- 
hollows, a family circle sat round a lingo lire, 
piled up witli blocks of coal of that magnitude 
and profusion which are only seen at houses 
in the neighbourhood of a coal-mine. It ap- 
peared as if a tram-waggon had been 'backed' 
into the room, and half its load of great 
loose coal shot out into the enormous 
aperture in the wall which lies below the 
chimney and behuid the fire-place in these 
rural abodes. The red flames roared, and the 
ale went round. 

The master of the house was not exactly a 
farmer, but one of those country personages 
who fill up the interval between the thorough 
farmer and the 'squire who farms his own 
estate, a sort of leather-legged, nail-shoed 
old gentleman, whose elder sons might easily 
be mistaken for gamekeepers, and the younger 
for ploughboys, but who on Sundays took care 
to ' let un see the difference' at church. Their 
father was therefore never called Farmer 
Dalton, but old Mr. Dalton, and almost as 
frequently Billy-Pit Dalton the coal mine in 
which he held a share being named the 
'William Pitt.' His lands, however, were 
but a small matter ; his chief property was 
a third share he had in this coal mine, which 
was some half a mile distant from the house. 
His eldest son was married, and lived close to 
the mine, of which he acted as the charter- 
master, or contractor with proprietors for the 
work to be done. 

Among the family group that encircled the 
huge coal fire was one visitor, a young man 
from London, the nephew of old Dalton. He 
had been sent down to this remote coal country 
by his father, in order to separate him from 
associates who dissipated his time, and from 
pursuits and habits that prevented his mind 
settling to any fixed occupation and course of 
life. Flashley was a young man of kindly feel- 
ings and good natural abilities, both of which, 
however, were in danger of being spoiled. 

Various efforts were made from time to 
time to amuse the dashing young fellow 'from 
town.! Sometimes the old gentleman related 
the wonders of the coal-mines, and the 
perilous adventures of the miners ; and on 
more than one occasion the curate of the 
village endeavoured to interest him in the 
grand history of the early world, and es- 
pecially of the period of antediluvian forests, 
and their various transmutations. All in 
vain. He paid no attention to them. If 
anything they said made any impression at 
all* it was solely due to the subtle texture of 
the human mind, which continually receives 
much more than it seeks, or has wit enough to 
desire. 

'You don't find the coal countries quite 
so bright and merry as London town, do ye, 



Charles Dickens.] 



THE TRUE STORY OF A COAL FIRE. 



27 



Flasliley 1 ' said old Dalton, with a good- 
natured smile. 

'1 can't say I do, uncle,' answered tlie youth, 
frankly. ' As to merriment, that is all very 
well at the present moment, in front of that 
great family bonfire ; but all the rest of the 
day ' and here Flashley laughed wit?h easy 
impudence and no small fun ; ' the house 
and garden are in a state of dingy mourning, 
so are all the roads, and lanes, and hedges, 
in fact, the passage of lines of little black 
waggons to and fro, rumbling full of coals, or 
rattling by, empty, seems like the chief busi- 
ness of life, and the main purpose for which 
men came into the world.' 

' And so they be ! ' ejaculated old Dalton, 
jocosely ; ' so far as these parts are concerned. 
You know, Flashley, the world is made up of 
many parts, and this be the coal part. We be 
the men bom to do the world's work of this 
sort ; and we can't very handsomely pass all 
our time a-sitting before a slimy fire, and 
drinking ale, though, that's good o' nights, 
after the work 's done.' 

With this laconic homily, old Billy-Pitt 
Dalton rose smiling from his chair, emptied his 
mug of ale, and, shaking the young man kindly 
by the hand, trudged off to bed. With much 
the same sort of smiling ' good night,' the sons 
all trudged after him. The good dame and 
her daughter went last. Flashley remained 
sitting alone in front of the great fire. 

He sat in silence for a long time, watching 
the fire decline into great dark chasms, black 
holes, and rugged red precipices, with grim 
smouldering chaotic heaps below. 

A word or two about this young man. 
Flashley Dalton had some education, which he 
fancied was quite enough, and was very am- 
bitious without any definite object. His father 
had proposed several professions to him, but 
none of them suited him, chiefly because, to 
acquire eminence in any of them, so long a 
time was needed. Besides, none seemed ade- 
quate to satisfy his craving for distinction. 
He looked down rather contemptuously on all 
ordinary pursuits. The fact was, he ardently 
desired fame and fortune, but did not like to 
work for either. One of the greatest injuries 
his mind had sustained, was from a certain 
species of 'fast literature,' which the evil 
spirit of town-life has squirted into the brains 
of our young men during the last three or 
four years, whereby he had been taught and 
encouraged to laugh at everything of serious 
interest, and to seek to find something ridi- 
culous in all ennobling efforts. If a great 
thing was done, he endeavoured to prove it a 
little one ; if a profound truth was enunciated, 
he sought to make it out a lie ; to him a new 
discovery in science was a humbug ; a generous 
effort, a job. If he went to see an exhibition 
of pictures, it was to sneer at the most original 
designs ; if to see a new tragedy, it was only 
in the hope of its being damned. If a new 
work of fiction were admirable, he talked 
spitefully of it, or with supercilious patronage ; 



and as to a noble poem, he scoffed at all such 
things with some slang joke at 'high art;' 
besides, he wrote himself, as many a young 
blade now attempts to do, instead of begin- 
ning with a little study and some decent read- 
ing. To Flashley all knowledge was a sort of 
absurdity ; his own arrogant folly seemed so 
much better a thing. He therefore only read 
books that were like himself, and encouraged 
him to grow worse. The literature of indis- 
criminate and reckless ridicule and burlesque 
had taught him to have no faith in any sincere 
thing, no respect for true knowledge ; and this 
had well-nigh destroyed all good in his mind 
and nature, as it unfortunately has done with 
too many others of his age at the present day. 

After sitting silently in front of the fire for 
some half an hour, Flashley gradually fell into 
a sort of soliloquy, partaking in about equal 
degrees of the grumbling, the self-conceited, 
the humorous, and the drowsy. 

' So, they 're all snoring soundly by this 
time all the clodpole Billy Pittites. Uncle 's 
a fine old fellow. Very fond of him. As for 
all the rest ! Wonder wiry the mine was 
called the William Pitt 1 Because it is so 
black and deep, I suppose. Before my time. 
Who cares for him now, or for any of the 
bygones ! Why should we care for anybody 
who went before us ? The past ones give 
place to the fast ones. That 's my feather. 

' But a pretty mess I 've made of my affairs 
in London ! My father does not know of 
half my debts. Hardly know of half of them 
myself. Incontinent contractions. Tavern 
bills, sixty or seventy pounds may be a hun- 
dred. Tailors 1 can't calculate. Saloons and 
night-larks, owing for don't know how much, 
besides money paid. Money borrowed, eighty 
or ninety pounds. Books forget say six- 
pence. Like Falstaft''s ha'pennyworth of 
bread to all that quantity of sack ! Think 
I paid ready money for all the light reading, 
and young gent's books.' 

The fire sank lower and lower, and so did 
the candles, one of which had just gone out, 
and began to send up a curdling stream of 
yellow smoke. 

' AVhat a place this is. for coals. What a 
smutty face Nature wears ! From the house 
upwards, all alike, dull, dusky, and detest- 
able. Pfeu ! Smell of fried mutton fat ! 
Now, then, old Coal-fire, hold up your head. 
I 'in sleepy myself. This house is more like 
a hearse than a dwelling-place for live stock. 
The roadway in front of the house is all of 
coal-dust ; the front of the house is like a 
sweep's, it only wants the dangling sign of 
his " brush." The window-ledges have a 
constant layer of black dust over them ; so 
has the top of the porch ; so have the chimney- 
pieces inside the house, where all the little 
china cups and gimcracks have a round black 
circle of coal-dust at the bottom. There is 
always a dark scum over the water of the 
jug in my bedroom. How I detest this life 
among the coals ! Where '3 the great need 



28 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



of them ? Why don't the stupid old world 
burn wood ? ' 

The fire had by this time sunk to dull red 
embers :md givy ashes, with large dark 
diasms around and behind. The shadows 
on the wall were faint, and shifting with 
the nickering of the last candle, now dying 
in the socket. Flashley's eyes were closed, 
and his arms folded, as lie still continued to 
murmur to himself. Sooth to say, the ale 
had got into his head. 

' Margery, the housemaid, has large black 
eyes, with dark rings of coal-grime round 
them. Her hair is also black her cap like a 
mourning mop and she lias worn a black 
patch on one side of her nose since last Friday, 
when I gave her a handful from the coal-scuttle 
for comparing me to the lazy young dog that lay 
asleep before the fire. Margery Daw ! you 
shall slide down to the lower regions, on an 
inclined plane, as the Useful Knowledge books 
would say. 

' Ale is a good thing when it is strong ; but 
a coal-mine is all nonsense. Still, they seem 
to make money by it, and that's some excuse 
some reason for men wasting in work lives 
which ought to be passed in pleasure. Human 

time human I thought something 

touched my elbow. 

' Human time should not be passed why 

there it came again ! I must be dreaming. 

' Old Billy-Pitt Dalton understands brewing. 
But human time should not be passed in 
digging and groping, and diving and search- 
ing whether to scrape up coals, or what folks 
call " knowledge." For the fuel of life bums 
out soon enough of itself, and, therefore, it 
should not be wasted over the baser material ; 
because the former is all for one's self, while 
coal-fuel, and the search after it, is just work- 
ing for other people. Something did touch 
my elbow ! There 's something astir in the 
room out in the darkness ! It was standing 
at my side ! ' 

Flashley made an effort to rise ; but instead 
of doing so, he fell sideways over one arm of 
the chair, with his arms hanging down. 
Staring up helplessly from this position, he 
saw a heavy dwarfed figure with shining eyes, 
coming out of the darkness of the room ! He 
could not distinguish its outline ; but it was 
elf-like, black, and had a rough rocky skin. It 
had eyes that shot rays like great diamonds ; 
.-ind through its coal-black naked body, 
the whole of its veins were discernible, not 
running with blood, but filled with stagnant 
gold. Its step was noiseless, yet its weight 
seemed so immense, that the floor slowly bent 
beneath it ; and, like ice before it breaks, the 
floor bent more and more as the figure came 
nearer. 

' At this alarming sight, Flashley struggled 
violently to rise. He did so; but instantly 
reeling half round, dropped into the chair, 
with his head falling over the back of it. At 
the same moment the ponderous Elliu took 
one step nearer; and the whole floor sank 



slowly down, with a long-drawn moan, that 
ended in a rising and rushing wind, with 
which Flashley felt himself borne away 
through the air, fleeter than his fast-fleeing 
consciousness. 

In the progress of generations and cycles 
in that wealth and dispensation of Time or- 
dained by HIM, before whose sight ' one day 
is as a thousand years, and a thousand years 
as one day ' mere grains of sand running 
through the glass that regulates the operations 
of never-ending work the bodies of all living 
things, whether animal or vegetable, fulfil 
their destinies by undergoing a gradual trans- 
mutation into other bodies and things of the 
most opposite kind to their own original being. 
Original being, accurately to speak, there is 
none ; but we must call that thing original to 
which some other thing is traced back as to 
its ultimate point, or starting place, and at 
which we are obliged to stop, not because it is 
the end, but because we can go no further ; 
nevertheless, up to that antediluvian period, 
and during a great part of it, we are moving 
in the dusky yet demonstrable regions and 
tracts of substantial facts, and scientific 
knowledge. 

Not daring to unclose his eyes, Flashley gra- 
dually returned to consciousness, and heard a 
voice speaking near to him, yet in tones that 
seemed like the echoes of some great cavern or 
deep mine. 

'Man lives to-day,' said the voice and 
the youth felt it was the black Elfin, with the 
diamond eyes and golden veins, that was speak- 
ing ' man lives to-day, not only for himself 
and those around him, but also that by his 
death and decay fresh grass may grow in the 
fields of future years, and that sheep may 
feed, and give food and clothing for the con- 
tinuous race of man. Even so the food of one 
generation becomes the stone of another. And 
the stone shall become a fuel a poison or a 
medicine. Awake, young man ! awake from 
the stupor of an ignorant and presumptuous 
youth and look around you !' 

The young man, with no little trepidation, 
opened his eyes. He found he was alone. 
The strange being that had just spoken was 
gone. He ventured to gaze on the scene that 
surrounded him. 

The place in which he found himself seemed 
to partake, not in distinct proportions, but 
altogether, so far as this was possible, of a 
wild forest of strange and enormous trees a 
chaotic jungle a straggling woodland, and a 
dreary morass or swamp, intersected by a dark 
river, that appeared to creep towards the sea 
which embraced a part of the distant horizon 
with a leaden arm. The moist mound whereon 
he stood was covered with ferns of various 
kinds the comb-fern, the wedge-fern, the 
tooth-fern, the nerve-fern and of all sizes, 
rising from a crumpled crest bursting through 
the earth, to plants of a foot high, of several 
feet, and thence up to lofty trees of forty or 
fifty feet in height, with great stems and 



Charles Dickens.] 



THE TEUE STOEY OF A COAL F1EE. 



29 



branching crowns. The green-stemmed find 
many-pointed mare's-tail was also conspicuous 
in number and in magnitude ; not merely of 
two or three feet high, as in the present period 
of the earth, but large green -jointed trees, 
shooting up their whisking spires to fourteen 
or fifteen feet. Thickly springing up in wild 
and threatening squadrons over the morass, 
they bent their heads in long rows after rows 
over the edge of the muddy river, with sullen, 
moveless, and interminable monotony. Here 
and there, enormous sombre shrubs oppressed 
the scene. The collective clumps resembled 
the inextricable junction of several of our 
thickest-foliaged trees, as though several oaks 
had agreed to unite their trunks, and make one 
several beeches, the same several poplars 
several limes though not one of them bear- 
ing likeness in trunk or foliage to oak, or 
beech, or poplar, or lime, or any knovm tree 
of present date. 

Clumps also were there, of a rank under- 
growth, out of which limp bare stems shot up 
to a great height, covered with a sickly white 
mealy powder, and terminating, for the most 
part, in coarse brown swollen heads, or gigantic 
black fingers, varied with dull red bosses at 
the tops of the great stems, broken cups, or 
red and grey forks and spikes, a sort of 
monstrous club-moss and cup-moss, with 
lichens, coarse water-weeds, and water-grasses 
at the base. 

Uncouth and terrible as were the forms to 
the young man's eyes, there were some things 
not without grace. Large trees, having their 
entire trunks and boughs elegantly fluted, 
bearing leaves at regular intervals on each 
fluting upwards and along every bough, 
rose up amidst the disordered vegetation. 
"Where the leaves had fallen from the lower 
part of the trunk, marks were left, like seals, 
at regular intervals on the flirtings.* 

In many places, close to the trees just de- 
scribed, huge tortuous succulent roots t pro- 
truded from the ground, as if anxious to ex- 
change their darkness and want of air for the 
light, and for the warm atmosphere, attracted 
by the strong gases with which it was im- 
pregnated. 

Eound the feet of the young man lay inter- 
tangled bunches and bundles of wood-weeds, 
river-weeds, and other weeds that seemed to 
partake equally of the river and the sea ; long 
rank grasses, sword-like, spear-like, or with 
club-like croAvns of seeds, and fungi of hideous 
shapes, gross, pulpy, like giants' heads, hairy 
and bearded, and sometimes bursting and 
sending forth steamy odours that were 
scarcely to be borne, and which the youth 
felt to be a deadly poison, but that for the 
time he, somehow, was endowed with a 
' charmed life.' 

Spell-bound, he turned from these dismaying 
sights, to trees that rose, to altitudes of from 

* These trees are known in fossil botany as the Sigittarice. 
t The Stigmaria. 



sixty to eighty feet, having leaves in long 
rows upon all the boughs, from which they 
shot forth direct, and without the interven- 
tion of any small twigs or other usual con- 
necting medium of foliage. The same course 
of leaves had existed on the trunk, from 
which they had fallen as the tree rose up to 
maturity, and had left scars or scales, like a 
Mosaic ornament, and a sign of their pro- 
gressive years.* 

Gazing through and beyond all these lofty 
trunks, Flashley beheld in the distance a sort 
of palm-like and pine-like trees, standing 
against the pale blue sky, which far tran- 
scended all the rest in altitude, and seemed 
indeed, here and there, to rise to a hundred 
feet above the whole range of other lofty 
trees ! His eyes ached as he stared at them. 
It was not their altitude alone that caused a 
painful impression, but the feeling of their 
unbroken solitude a loneliness unvisited by 
a single bird, and with nothing between them 
and the heavens, to which they seemed to 
aspire for ever, and in vain. 

No flowers on any of the trees and shrubs 
around him were to be seen and no fruits. 
The tone of colour was grave, sullen, melan- 
choly. It was a solitude that seemed to feel 
itself. Not only no bird was visible, but no 
quadruped, insect, creeping thing, or other 
form of animal life. The earth was devoted 
solely to the production of enormous vege- 
tation. 

To complete the pregnant solemnity of the 
scene, there were no sounds of life or motion 
in the air ; all was silence. 

Looking round with a forlorn and over- 
awed yet enquiring face, he discerned some- 
thing like two keen stars of arrowy light at 
the foot of a gigantic fern-tree, at some dis- 
tance from him. The darting rays seemed 
directed towards him. They were eyes ; they 
could be nothing else ! He presently perceived 
that the rough black elfin figure, with the 
veins of stagnant gold, was seated there, and 
that its eyes were fixed upon him ! 

' The scene amidst which you stand,' said 
the Elfin in his echo-like voice, and without 
moving from his seat beneath the tree, ' is the 
stupendous vegetation of the elder world. 
The trunks and stems of the antediluvian 
earth erect their columns, and shoot up their 
spires towards the clouds ; their dull, coarse 
foliage overhangs the swamps, and they drink 
in, at every pore, the floating steam impreg- 
nated with the nutriment of prodigies. No ani- 
mal life do you behold, for none is of this date, 
nor could it live amidst these potent vapours 
which feed the vegetation. And yet these 
vast trees and plants, this richly poisoned 
atmosphere, this absence of all animal life of 
man, and beast, and bird, and creeping thing, 
is all arranged in due order of progression, 
that man may hereafter live, not merely a 
savage life, but one civilised and refined, with 

* The Lepidodendron. 



30 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



the sense of a soul within of God in the 
world, :ind over it, and .",11 around it where- 
of conies man's hope of a future life beyond 
his presence here. Thus upward, and thus 
onward ever. 

'And all this monstrous vegetation above 
ground shall be cast down and embedded deep 
in the dark bowels of the earth, there under 
tl^e chemical process of ages to become a fuel 
for future generations of men, yet unborn, 
who will require it for their advance in civi- 
lisation and knowledge. Yes ; these huge 
ferns, these trunks, and stems, and towering 
fabrics of trees, shall all crash down sink 
deep into the earth with all the rank enfolding 
mass of undergrowth there to be jammed 
and mashed up between beds of fiery stone 
and grit and clay, and covered with oozy 
mud and sand, till stratum after stratum of 
varied, matter rises above them, and forms a 
new surface of earth. On this surface the 
new vegetation of the world will commence, 
while that of the old lies beneath, not rotting 
in vain, nor slumbering uselessly in darkness, 
but gradually, age after age, undergoing trans- 
mutation by the alchemy of Nature, till ver- 
dure becorneth veriest blackness, and wood is 
changed to coal. 

' Then man is born, appearing on the earth 
only when the earth is ready to receive him, 
and minister to his wants. At first he useth 
wood for his fuel ; but as his knowledge ex- 
pands and deepens he penetrates far below 
the surface, and there finds forests of fuel 
almost inexhaustible, made ready for his va- 
rious needs and arts. And when, in far-off 
ages, these vast stores become exhausted, 
others will be discovered not only of the same 
date, but which have been since accumulated ; 
for the same process of transmutation is con- 
stantly going on. Thus present time always 
works for future ages. 

' Slowly as moves the current in *v veins,' 
the Elh'n rose up as he said this ' veins 
which seem to your eye to contain a stagnant 
gold, but whose metallic current, in its ap- 
pointed period of years, performs each several 
circulation within me, yea, slowly as this, 
or any other invisible progression, move these 
mighty forest trees towards their downward 
course, to rise again in coals, in fire, and 
thence ascend to air. Yes, this invisible 
motion is as certain withal, as that immediate 
action which mortal nature best can compre- 
hend.' 

As the Elfin uttered these last words, the 
great trees around sank with crashing slant 
one over the other ! then came rushing, like a 
sudden tempest, down upon the earth ; and 
the young mail was overwhelmed with the 
foliage, and instantly lost all further con- 

The traveller who has journeyed for many 
days across the fertile levels and shining flats 
of Holland, must often have bethought him 
that all this was surging ocean, but a few 
years ago ; hi like manner, by an inverse 



process, the voyager up the Mississippi or 
Missouri rivers, or the wayfarer for many 
days through the apparently interminable 
and dense forests of North America, might 
look forward to a period when all these 
masses of vegetation would become coal, it 
left to be dealt with by the regular process ol 
nature. 

The rapid advances of civilisation into these 
wooded solitudes may prevent the transmuta- 
tion to which they were otherwise destined ; 
and the same may be said of the forests even 
on many of the vast tracts, as yet scarcely 
trodden by the foot of man, in New Zealand 
and Australia ; but many other giant forest 
tracts exist in unknown regions, which ai*e 
destined to follow the law of transmutation, 
and secretly become a carbonic fuel for future 
' discovery. 

But what does young Flashley now behold 1 
He is aroused from his trance, and is again 
conscious of surrounding objects. He is seated, 
so that he cannot move, on a little wooden 
bench beneath a low wooden shed, such as 
labourers 'knock up' by way of temporary 
shelter in the vicinity of some great works. 
Great works are evidently in hand all around 
him. 

Labourers with pick-axes and spades came 
hurrying to the spot, and began to dig a cir- 
cular hole of some seven feet in diam 
Then came others with a great wooden roller 
on a stand, with a thick rope, like a well-rope, 
wound round it ; and fixing this across the 
top of the hole, they let down a basket, ever 
and anon, and brought it up filled with earth 
and stones. It was evident that they were eni- 
i in sinking a shaft. 

They worked away at a prodigious rate, 
the descending baskets continually taking 
down men with pickaxes and spades ; and next 
with carpenter's tools and circular pieces of 
wood-work, with which they made an inner 
frame round the sides of the shaft below. 
Bricklayers, with hods of bricks, were next let 
down in the baskets, and with the support of 
the circular frame beneath, they rapidly cased 
the inside of the shaft with brickwork up to 
the top. More and deeper digging out then 
took place more wooden frame- work below, 
with more brickwork round the sides, and gra- 
dually sinking lower and lower. This was 
continued again and again, till suddenly loud 
cries from below announced some new event. 
The diggers had arrived at springs water was 
gushing in upon them ! 

Up came the rope and basket with three men 
standing up inside and holding on the rope, 
and two men and a boy clinging round rope 
and basket, and round each other as they best 
could, and with no small peril to all. Leaping, 
scrambling, or lugged to the side, they rdi 
the basket, which rapidly ran down again to 
bring up others. 

Meanwhile came labourers heavily trotting 
beneath the weight of pumps and pump-gear; 
and they rigged up the pump, and as soon aa 



Charles Dickens^ 



THE TRUE STORY OF A COAL FIRE. 



31 



all the men and boys were out of the shaft. 
up came the water pouring in a thick volume, 
now mud-coloured, now clay-coloured, and 
now grey and chalky. At length the volume 
became less and less, and soon tliere was no 
more. Down again went basket after basket, 
with men or boys in them. Flashley shud- 
dered, as something .within him seemed to 
say ' Your turn will come ! ' ' Up came the 
clay, and the sand, and the gravel, and the 
chalk as before ; and soon a mixture of several 
earths and stones. Thus did they toil and 
toil below and above, winding up and winding 
down, till at last a shout of success was heard 
faintly echoing from the deep pit beneath, 
and presently up came a basket full of broken 
limestone, and grit, and red samistone and 
coals ! 

Flashley now observed a great turmoil 
above, but all with definite intention, and 
preparations for new and larger works. A 
steam-engine was fitted up in a small brick 
edifice at a hundred yards distance, from 
which came a strong rope that passed over a 
large drum or broad wheel. The rope was 
then extended to the shaft, over the top of 
which a small iron wheel was erected ; and 
over this they carried the rope, which was to 
take down men and bring up coals. A larger 
measure than the basket, called a corve, was 
fastened to this rope by chains, and up and 
down it went bringing great heaps of coals 
to the surface. After a time, wood- work 
and iron-work of various kinds were sent 
down, and sledges and trucks with little 
wheels ; and then broad belts were put round 
horses, by means of which they were raised, 
kicking and capering wildly in the air, and 
staring with horrified eye-balls into the black 
abyss, down which they were lowered, every 
limb trembling, and their ears sharpened up 
to a single hair. 

At this sight Flashley's ears began to prick 
and tingle in sympathy, for he felt that he 
should not much longer remain a mere spec- 
tator of these descents into the lower regions 
of the earth. 

And now corve after corve full of coals rose 
in regxilar succession from the mine, and 
tram-roads were laid down, upon which little 
black waggons constantly ran to and fro, 
carrying away the coals from the pit's mouth. 
While all this had been going on, a second 
shaft was sunk at no great distance ; but no 
coals were seen to issue from it. It was for 
air, and ventilation of the mine. 

The men sometimes went down standing 
up in the corve, but generally each man sat in 
the loop of a short chain which he hooked on 
to the rope; and, in this way, six or seven 
went _ swinging down together in a bunch ; 
sometimes ten or twelve in a bunch ; and 
now and then, by some using longer chains 
than the others, in a double bunch, amounting 
to as many as twenty, men and boys. 

A voice, which seemed to come from be- 
neath the earth, but which poor Flashley 



recollected too well as that of the Elfin who 
had carried him so recently into the antedi- 
luvian forests and swamps, now called him 
by his name, with a familiarity that made 
him shudder. Instantly he found him- 
self borne away from the wooden shed, and 
placed on the brink of the first shaft. A 
strange apparatus, composed of a chain with 
a loop at bottom, and an iron umbrella 
over head, was now attached to the rope by 
three chains. It had very much the look 
of some novel instrument of torture. Into 
this loop Flashley's legs were placed in a 
sitting posture. 

' Straddle your legs ! ' cried an old black- 
visaged miner, as the young man was swung 
off from the brink, and suspended over the 
profound abyss below. Not obeying, and, 
indeed, not instantly understanding the un- 
couth injunction, Flashley had omitted the 
' straddling ; ' in consequence of which the 
chain loop clipped him close around, and 
pinched his legs together with a force that 
would have made him utter a cry, but for the 
paramount terror of his position. Pown he 
went. Round and round went the shaft-wheel 
above faster and faster and lower and lower 
he sank from the light of day between the 
dark circular walls of the shaft. 

At first the motion was manifestly rapid. 
It took away his breath. It became more 
rapid. He gave himself up for lost. But 
presently the motion became more smooth, 
and more steady then quite steady, so that 
he thought he was by no means descending 
rapidly. Presently, again, he fancied he was 
not descending at all but stationary or, 
rather, ascending. It was difficult to think 
otherwise. The current of air rising from 
below, meeting his swiftly descending body, 
gave him this impression. 

He now saw a dim light moving beldw. It 
became stronger, and almost immediately 
after he saw three half-naked demons of the 
mine, as he thought, who stood ready to re- 
ceive him. 

For the first time he ventured to cast a 
forlorn look upwards. He beheld the iron 
umbrella with a light from beneath flashing 
upon it. Again, he turned his eyes below. 
He was close down upon the demons. One 
of them held a lamp up to his face as he 
descended among them. Whereupon these 
three demons all uttered a jovial laugh, and 
welcomed him. 

' Oh, where am 1 1 ' exclaimed Flashley, in 
utter dismay. 

' At the first " workings " of the Billy- 
Pitt Mine ! ' shouted a voice. ' Steady the 
chains ! ' 

The chains were steadied, and in a moment 
Flashley felt himself launched into a new 
abyss, down which he descended in utter 
darkness, and in utter silence, except from 
the rushii'g of the air-currents, and the occa- 
sional gra: ing of the iron umbrella against the 
sides of the shaft. 



32 



HOUSEHOLD WOEDS. 



[Conducted by 



LIZZIE LEIGH. 

IN FOUR CllAI'TF.US. CIIArTER II. 

' MOTHER,' then said Will, ' why will you 
keep on thinking she 's alive 1 If she -were 
but dead, we need never name her name again. 
"We Ve never heard nought on her since 
father wrote her that letter ; we never knew 
whether she got it or not. She 'd left her 
place before then. Many a one dies is " 

' Oh my lad ! dunnot speak so to me, or my 
heart will break outright,' said his mother, 
with a sort of cry. Then she calmed herself, 
for she yearned to persuade him to her own 
belief. ' Thou never asked, and thou 'rt too 
like thy father for me to tell without asking 
but it were all to be near Lizzie's old place 
that I settled down on this side o' Manchester ; 
and the very day at after we came, I went to 
her old missus, and asked to speak a word wi' 
her. I had a strong mind to cast it up to 
her, that she should ha' sent my poor lass 
away without telling on it to us first ; but she 
were ill black, and looked so sad I could DM" 
find in my heart to threep it up. But I did 
ask her a bit about our Lizzie. The master 
would have her turned away at a day's warn- 
ing, (he 's gone to t'other place ; I hope he '11 
meet wi' more mercy there than he showed 
our Lizzie, I do, ) and when the missus 
asked her should she write to us, she says 
Lizzie shook 'her head ; and when she speered 
at her again, the poor lass went down on her 
knees, and begged her not, for she said it 
would break my heart, (as it has done, Will 
God knows it has),' said the poor mother, 
choking with her struggle to keep down her 
hard overmastering grief, 'and her father 
would curse her Oh, God, teach me to be 
patient.* She could not speak for a few mi- 
nutes, "and the lass threatened, and said 
she 'd go drown herself in the canal, if the 
missus wrote home, and so 

' Well ! I 'd got a trace of my child, the 
missus thought she 'd gone to th' workhouse 
to be nursed ; and there I went, and there, 
sure enough, she had been, and they 'd 
turned her out as soon as she were strong, 
and told her she were young enough to 
work, but whatten kind o' work would be 
open to her, lad, and her baby to keep ? ' 

Will listened to his mother's tale with deep 
sympathy, not unmixed with the old bitter 
shame. But the opening of her heart had 
unlocked his, and after a while he spoke. 

' Mother ! I think I 'd e'en better go home. 
Tom can stay wi' thee. I know I should stay 
too, but I cannot stay in peace so near her 
without craving to see her Susan Palmer 
I mean.' 

' Has the old Mr. Palmer thou telled me on 
a daughter ? ' asked Mrs. Leigh. 

' Aye, he has. And I love her above a bit. 
And it 's because I love her I want to leave 
Manchester. That 's all.' 

Mrs. Leigh tried to understand this speech 



for some time, but found it difficult of inter- 
pretation. 

' Why should'st thou not tell her thou lov'st 
her ? Thou 'rt a likely lad, and sure o' work 
Thou 'It have Upclose at my death ; and ;i.s 
for that I could let thee have it now, and keep 
mysel by doing a bit of charring. It seems to 
me a very backwards sort o' way of winning 
her to think of leaving Manchester.' 

' Oh mother, she 's so gentle and so good, 
she 's downright holy. She 's never known a 
touch of sin ; and can I ask her to marry me, 
knowing what we do about Lizzie, and fearing 
worse ! I doubt if one like her could ever care 
for me ; but if she knew about my sister, it 
would put a gulf between us, and she 'd 
shudder up at the thought of crossing it. You 
don't know how good she is, mother ! ' 

' Will, Will ! if she 's so good as thou say'st, 
she '11 have pity on such as my Lizzie. If she 
has no pity for such, she 's a cruel Pharisee, 
and thou 'rt best without her.' 

But he only shook his head, and sighed ; 
and for the time the conversation dropi* 'il. 

But a new idea sprang up in Mrs. Leigh's 
head. She thought that she would go and 
see Susan Palmer, and speak up for Will, and 
toll her the truth about Lizzie ; and according 
to her pity for the poor sinner, would she bo 
worthy or unworthy of him. She resolved 
to go the very next afternoon, but without 
telling any one of her plan. Accordingly she 
looked out the Sunday clothes she had never 
before had the heai-t to unpack since she came 
to Manchester, but which she now desired to 
appear in, in order to do credit. to Will. She 
put on her old-fashioned black mode bonnet, 
trimmed with real lace ; her scarlet cloth 
cloak, which she had had ever since she was 
married ; and always spotlessly clean, she set 
forth" on her unauthorised embassy. She 
knew the Palmers lived m Crown Street, 
though where she had heard it she could not 
tell ; and modestly asking her way, she arrived 
in the street about a quarter to four o'clock. 
She stopped to inquire the exact number, and 
the woman whom she addressed told her 
that Susan Palmer's school would not be 
loosed till four, and asked her to step in and 
wait until then at her house. 

' For,' said she, smiling, ' them that wants 
Susan Palmer wants a kind friend of ours ; so 
we, in a manner, call cousins. Sit down, 
missTis, sit do,wn. I '11 wipe the chair, so that 
it shanna dirty your cloak. My mother used 
to wear them bright cloaks, and they 're right 
gradely things again a green field.' 

' Han ye known Susan Palmer long 1 ' asked 
Mrs. Leigh, pleased with the admiration of 
her cloak. 

' Ever since they corned to live in our street. 
Our Sally goes to her school.' 

'Whatten sort of a lass is she, for I ha' 
.never seen her ? ' 

' Well, as for looks, I cannot say. It 's so 
long since I first knowed her, that I Ve clean 
forgotten what I thought of her then. My 



Cklrlea Dickenn-j 



LIZZIE LEIGH. 



33 



master says he never saw such a smile for 
gladdening the heart. But may be it 's not 
looks you 're asking about. The best thing I 
can say of her looks is, that she 's just one a 
stranger would stop in the street to ask help 
from if he needed it. All the little childer 
creeps as close as they can to her ; she '11 
have as many as three or four hanging to her 
apron all at once.' 

' Is she cocket at all ?' 

' Cocket, bless you ! you never saw a crea- 
ture less set up in all your life. Her father 's 
cocket enough. No ! she's not cocket any 
way. You Ve not heard much of Susan Palmer, 
I reckon, if you think she 's cocket. She 's just 
one to come quietly in, and do the very thing 
most wanted ; little things, maybe, that any 
one could do, but that few would think on, for 
another. She'll bring her thimble wi' her, 
and mend up after the childer o' nights, and 
she writes all Betty Barker's letters to her 
grandchild out at service, and she 's in no- 
body's way, and that's a great matter, I take 
it. Here's the childer running past ! School 
is loosed. You '11 find her now, missus, ready 
to hear and to help. But we none on us frab 
her by going near her in school-time.' 

Poor Mrs. Leigh's heart began to beat, and 
she could almost have turned round and gone 
home again. Her country breeding had made 
her shy of strangers, and this Susan Palmer 
appeared to her like a real born la,dy by all 
accounts. So, she knocked with a timid feel- 
ing at the indicated door, and when it was 
opened, dropped a simple curtsey without 
speaking. Susan had her little niece in her 
arms, curled up with fond endearment against 
her breast, but she put her gently down to 
the ground, and instantly placed a chair in 
the best comer of the room for Mrs. Leigh, 
when she told her who she was. ' It 's not Will 
as has asked me to come,' said the mother, 
apologetically, 'I'd a wish just to speak to 
you myself ! ' 

Susan coloured up to her temples, and 
stooped to pick up the little toddling girl, 
la a minute or two Mrs. Leigh began again. 

' Will thinks you would na respect us if 
you knew all ; but I think you could ua help 
feeling for us in the sorrow God has put upon 
us ; so I just put on my bonnet, and came off 
unknownst to the lads. Every one says you're 
very good, and that the Lord has keeped you 
from falling from his ways ; but maybe you Ve 
never yet been tried and tempted as some is. 
I'm perhaps speaking too plain, but my 
heart's welly broken, and I can't be choice in 
my words as them who are happy can. Well 
now ! I '11 tell you the truth. Will dreads 
you to hear it, but I'll just tell it you. You 
rnun know,' but here the poor woman's 
words failed her, and she could do nothing 
but sit rocking herself backwards and for- 
wards, with sad eyes, straight-gazing into 
Susan's face, as if they tried to tell the tale of 
agony which the quivering lips refused to utter. 
Those wretched stony eyes forced the tears 



down Susan's cheeks, and, as if this sympathy 
gave the mother strength, she went on in a 
low voice, ' I liad a daughter once, my heart's 
darling. Her father thought I made too 
much on her, and that she'd grow marred 
staying at home ; so he said she mun go 
among strangers, and learn to rough it. She 
were young, and liked the thought of seeing 
a bit of the world ; and her father heard on 
a place in Manchester. Well ! I '11 not weary 
you. That poor girl were led astray ; and 
first thing we heard on it, was when a letter 
of her father's was sent back by her missus, 
saying she'd left her place, or, to speak right, 
the master had turned her into the street 
soon as he had heard of her condition and 
she not seventeen ! ' 

She now cried aloud ; and Susan wept too. 
The little child looked up into their faces, 
and, catching their sorrow, began to whimper 
and wail. Susan took it softly up, and hiding 
her face in its little neck, tried to restrain her 
tears, and think of comfort for the mother. 
At last she said : 

' Where is she now ?' 

' Lass ! I dunnot know,' said Mrs. Leigh, 
checking her sobs to communicate this addi- 
tion to her distress. ' Mrs. Lomax telled me 
she went' 

' Mrs. Lomax what Mrs. Lomax 1 ' 

' Her as lives in Brabazon-street. She 
telled me my poor wench went to the work- 
house fra there. I'll not speak again the 
dead ; but if her father would but ha' letteu 
me, but he were one who had no notion 
no, I '11 not say that ; best say nought. He 
forgave her on his death-bed. I dare say I 
did na go th' right way to work.' 

' Will you hold the child for me one instant 1 ' 
said Susan. 

" Ay, if it will come to me. Childer used 
to be fond on me till I got the sad look on 
my face that scares them, I think.' 

But the little girl clung to Susan ; so she 
carried it upstairs with her. Mrs. Leigh sat 
by herself how long she did not know. 

Susan came down with a bundle of far-worn 
baby-clothes. 

' You must listen to me a bit, and not think 
too much about what I 'm going to tell you. 
Nanny is not my niece, nor any kin to me 
that I know of. I used to go out working by 
the day. One night, as I came home, I thought 
some woman was following me ; I turned to 
look. The woman, before I could see her face 
(for she turned it to one side), offered me 
something. I held out my arms by instinct : 
she dropped a bundle into them with a burst- 
ing sob that went straight to my heart. It 
was a baby. I looked round again ; but the 
woman was gone. She had run away as 
quick as lightning. There was a little 
packet of clothes very few and as if they 
were made out of its mother's gowns, for 
they were large patterns to buy for a baby. 
I was always fond of babies ; and I had 
not my wits about me, father says ; for it 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



was very cold, and when I 'd seen as well as 
1 could (for it was pnxl ten) that there was no 
one in the street, 1 brought it in and warmed 
it. Father was very angry when he came, 
and said he'd take it to the workhouse the 
next morning, and flyted me sadly about it, 
But when morning came I could not bear to 
part with it ; it had slept in my arms all 
night ; and I've heard what workhouse bring- 
ing up is. So I told father 1 'd give up going 
out working, and stay at home nnd keep 
school, if I might only keep the baby ; and 
after awhile, he said if I earned enough for 
him to have his comforts, he'd let me ; 
but he's never taken to her. Now, don't 
tremble so, I've but a little more to tell, 
and maybe I 'm wrong in telling it ; but I 
used to work next door to Mrs. Lomax's, in 
Brabazou-street, and the servants were all 
thick together ; and I heard about Bessy 
(they called her) being sent away. I don't 
know that ever I saw her ; but the time would 
be about fitting to this child's age, and I've 
sometimes fancied it was her's. And now, 
will you look at the little clotLes that came 
with her bless her ! ' 

But Mrs. Leigh had fainted. The strange 
joy and shame, and gushing love for the little 
child had overpowered her ; it was some time 
before Susan could bring her round. There 
she was all trembling, sick impatience to look 
at the little frocks. Among them was a slip 
of paper which Susan had forgotten to name, 
that had been pinned to the bundle. On it 
was scrawled in a round stiff hand, 

' Call her Anne. She does not cry imich, 
and takes a deal of notice. Gocl bless you and 
forgive me.' 

The writing was no clue at all ; the name 
' Anne,' common though it was, seemed some- 
thing to build upon. But Mrs. Leigh recog- 
nised one of the frocks instantly, as being 
made out of part of a gown that she and her 
daughter had bought together in Rochdale. 

She stood up, and stretched out her hands 
in the attitude of blessing over Susan's bent 

' God bless you, and show you His mercy 
in your need, as you have shown it to this 
little child.' 

She took the little creature in her arms, 
and smoothed away her sad looks to a smile, 
and kissed it fondly, saying over and over 
again, 'Nanny, Nanny, my little Nanny.' At 
last the child was soothed, and looked in her 
face and smiled back again. 

' It has her eyes,' said she to Susan. 

' I never saw her to the best of my know- 
ledge. I think it must be her's by the frock. 
But where can she 1 

' God knows,' said Mrs. Leigh ; ' I dare not 
think she 's dead. I 'in sure she isn't.' 

' No ! she 's not dead. Every now and 
then a little packet is thrust in under our 
door, with may be two half-crowns in it ; once 
it was half-a-sovereign. Altogether I've got 
eeven-aud-thirty shillings wraj:* ed up for 



Nanny. I never touch it, but I 've oftqn 
thought the poor motluT feds near to God 
when she brings this iuon> m .si 

to set the policeman to watch, but I .said No, 
for I was afraid if a!: -!ied she might 

not come, and it seemed such a holy thing to 
be checking her in, I could not lind in my 
!ie;'i-t to do it,' 

' Oil. if we could but find her ! I 'd take 
her in my arms, and we 'd just lie down and 
die together.' 

'Nay, don't speak so ! ' said Susan gently, 
'for all that's come and gone, she may turn 
right at last. Mary Magdalen did, you know.' 

' Eh ! but I were nearer right about thee 
than Will. He thought you would never 
look on him again if you knew about Lizzie. 
But thou 'rt not a Pharisee.' 

' I 'm sorry he thought I could be so hard,' 
said Susan in a low voice, and colouring up. 
Then Mrs. Leigh was alarmed, and in her 
motherly anxiety, she began to fear lest she 
had injured Will in Susan's estimation. 

' You see Will thinks so much of you 
gold would not be good enough for you to 
walk on, in his eye. He said you 'd never 
look at him as he was, let alone his being 
brother to my poor wench. He loves you 
so, it makes him think meanly on everything 
belonging to himself, as not fit to come near 
ye, but he 's a good lad, and a good son 
thou 'It be a happy woman if thou 'It have 
him, so don't let my words go against him ; 
don't ! ' 

But Susan hung her head and made no 
answer. She had not known until now, that 
Will thought so earnestly and seriously about 
her ; and even now she felt afraid that Mrs. 
Leigh's words promised her too much hap- 
piness, and that they could not be true. At 
any rate the instinct of modesty made her 
shrink from saying anything which might 
seem like a confession of her own feelings to a 
third person. Accordingly she turned the 
conversation on the child. 

' I 'm sure he could not help loving Nanny,' 
said she. ' There never was such a good 
little darling ; don't you think she 'd win 
his heart if he knew she was his niece, and 
perhaps bring him to think kindly on his 
sister 1 ' 

' I dunnot know,' said Mrs. Leigh, shaking 
her head. ' He has a turn in his eye like his 

father, that makes me . He 's right down 

good though. But you see I've never been 
a good one at managing folk ; one severe look 
turns me sick, and then I say just the wrong 
thing, I 'm so fluttered. Now I should like 
nothing better than to take Nancy home with 
me, but Tom knows nothing but that his 
sister is dead, and I 've not the knack of 
speaking rightly to Will. I dare not do it, 
and that 's the truth. But you mini not think 
badly of Will. He 's so good lussel, that he 
can't understand how any one can do wrong ; 
and, above all, I 'm sure he loves you dearly.' 

'I don't think I could part with Nancy,' 



Charles Dicfceus.j 



WORK. 



35 



said Susan, anxious to stop this revelation of 
Will's attachment to herself. ' He'll come 
round to her soon ; he can't fail ; and I '11 
lieep a sharp look-out after the poor mother, 
and try and catch lier the next time she comes 
with her little parcels of money.' 

'Aye, lass ! we mun get hold of her ; my 
Lizzie. I love thee dearly for thy kindness 
to her child ; but, if thou can'st catch her for 
me, I '11 pray for thee when I 'm too near my 
death to speak words ; and while I live, I '11 
serve thee next to her, she mun come first, 
thou know'st. God bless thee, lass. My 
heart is lighter by a deal than it was when I 
corned in. Them lads will be looking for me 
home, and. I mun go, and leave this little sweet 
one,' kissing it. ' If I can take courage, I '11 tell 
Will all that has come and gone between us 
two. He may come and see thee, mayn't 
he?' 

' Father will be very glad to see him, I 'm 
sure,' replied Susan. The way in which this 
was spoken satisfied Mrs. Leigh's anxious 
heart that she had done Will no harm by 
what she had said ; and with many a kiss 
to the little one, and one more fervent tearful 
blessing on Susan, she went homewards. 



WORK ! AN ANECDOTE. 



A CAVALRY OFFICER of large fortune,who had 
distinguished himself in several actions, having 
been quartered for a long time in a foreign city, 
gradually fell into a life of extreme and in- 
cessant dissipation. He soon found himself so 
indisposed to any active military service, that 
even the ordinary routine became irksome 
and unbearable. He accordingly solicited and 
obtained leave of absence from his regiment 
for six months. But, instead of immediately 
engaging in some occupation of mind and 
body, as a curative process for his morbid 
condition, he hastened to London, and gave 
himself up entirely to greater luxuries than 
ever, and plunged into every kind of sen- 
suality. The consequence was a disgust of 
life and all its healthy offices. He became 
unable to read half a page of a book, or to 
write the shortest note ; mounting his horse 
was too much trouble ; to lounge down the 
street was a hateful effort. His appetite 
failed, or everything disagreed with him ; and 
Lo could seldom sleep. Existence became an 
intolerable burthen ; he therefore determined 
on suicide. 

With this intention he loaded his pistols, 
and, influenced by early associations, dressed 
himself in his regimental frock-coat and 
crimson sash, and entered St. James's Park 
a little before sunrise. He felt as if he was 
mounting guard for the last time ; listened 
to each sound, and looked with miserable 
affection across the misty green towards 
the Horse Guards, faintly seen in the 
distance. 

A few minutes after the officer had entered 
the park, there passed through the same gate 



a poor mechanic, who leisurely followed in the 
same direction. He w r as a gaunt, half-famished 
looking man, and walked with a sad air, 
his eyes bent thoughtfully on the ground, 
and his large bony hands dangling at his 
sides. 

The officer, absorbed in the act he medi- 
tated, walked on without being aware of the 
presence of another person. Arriving about 
the middle of a wide open space, he suddenly 
stopped, and drawing forth both pistols, ex- 
claimed : ' Oh, most unfortunate and most 
wretched man that I am ! Wealth, station, 
honour, prospects, are of no avail ! Existence 
has become a heavy torment to me ! I have 
not strength I have not courage to endure 
or face it a moment longer ! ' 

With these words he cocked the pistols, 
and was raising both of them to his head, 
when his arms were seized from behind, and 
the pistols twisted out of his fingers. He 
reeled round, and beheld the gaunt scarecrow 
of a man who had followed him. 

' What are you ? ' stammered the officer, 
with a painful air ; ' How dare you to step 
between me and death 1 ' 

' I am a poor hungry mechanic ; ' answered 
the man, 'one who works from fourteen to 
sixteen hours a day, and yet finds it hard to 
earn a living. My wife is dead my daughter 
was tempted away from me and I am a lone 
man. As I have nobody to live for, and have 
become quite tired of my life, I came out this 
morning, intending to drown myself. But as 
the fresh air of the park came over my face, 
the sickness of life gave way to shame at my , 
own want of strength and courage, and I de- 
termined to walk onwards and live my 
allotted time. But what are you ? Have 
you encountered cannon-balls and death in 
all shapes, and now want the strength and 
courage to meet the curse of idleness ? ' 

The officer was moving off with some con- 
fused words, but the mechanic took him by the 
arm, and threatening to hand him over to the 
police if he resisted, led him droopingly away. 

This mechanic's work was that of a turner, 
and he lived in a dark cellar, where he toiled 
at his lathe from morning to night. Hearing 
that the officer had amused himself with a 
little turnery in his youth, the poor artisan 
proposed to take him down into his work- 
shop. The officer offered him money, and 
was anxious to escape ; but the mechanic 
refused it, and persisted. 

He accordingly took the morbid gentleman 
down into his" dark cellar, and set him to 
work at his lathe. The officer began very 
languidly, and soon rose to depart. Where- 
upon, the mechanic forced him down again on 
the hard bench, and swore that if he did not 
do an hour's work for him, in return for 
saving his life, he would instantly consign 
him to a policeman, and denounce him for 
attempting to commit suicide. At this threat 
the officer was so confounded, that he at once 
consented to do the work. 



r>6 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Ccmductr J bf 



Wlieu the hour was over, the mechanic in- 
sisted on a second hour, in consequence of the 
slowness of the work it had not been a fail- 
hour's labour. In vain the officer protested, 
was angry, and exhausted had the heartburn 
pains in his back and limbs and declared 



kill him. The mechanic was in- 
' If it does kill you, 1 said lie, ' then 



it would 

cxorable. 

you will only be where you would have been 

if I had not stopped you.' So the oflicer 

was compelled to continue his work with an 

inflamed face, and the perspiration pouring 

down over his cheeks and chin. 

At last he could proceed no longer, come 
what would of it, and sank back in the arms 
of his persecuting preserver. The mechanic 
now placed before him his own breakfast, 
composed of a twopenny loaf of brown bread, 
and a pint of small beer ; the whole of which 
the officer disposed of in no time, and then 
sent out for more. 

Before the boy who was despatched on tliis 
errand returned, a little conversation had 
ensued ; and as the officer rose to go, he 
smilingly placed his purse, with his card, in 
the hands of the mechanic. The poor ragged 
man received them with all the composure of 
a physician, and with a sort of dry, grim 
humour which appeared peculiar to him, and 
the only relief of his otherwise rough and 
rigid character, made sombre by the constant 
shadows and troubles of life. 

But the moment he read the name on the 
card, all the hard lines in his deeply-marked 
face underwent a sudden contortion. Thrust- 
ing back the purse and card into the officer's 
hand, he seized him with a fierce grip by one 
arm hurried him, wondering, up the dark 
broken stairs, along the narrow passage then 
pushed him out at the door ! 

' You are the fine gentleman who tempted 
my daughter away ! ' said he. 

' I your daughter ! ' exclaimed the officer. 

' Yes, my daughter ; Ellen Brentwood ! ' 
said the mechanic. ' Are there so many men's 
daughters in the list, that you forget her 
name ? ' 

'I implore you,' said the officer, 'to take 
this purse. Pray take this purse ! If you 
will not accept it for yourself, I entreat you 
to send it to her ! ' 

' Go and buy a lathe with it,' said the 
mechanic. ' Work, man ! and repent of your 
past life ! ' 

So saying, he closed the door in the officer's 



face, and 
labour. 



lescended the stairs to his daily 



GOOD VERSES OF A BAD POET. 

Few things in Dryden or Pope arc finer than these lines 
by a man whom they both continually laughed at; Sir 
Kichard Blackmore. 

EXHAUSTED travellers, that have undergone 
The scorching heats of Life's intemperate zone, 
Haste for refreshment to their beds beneath, 
And stretch themselves in the cool shades of Death. 



PERFECT FELICITY. 

IN A BIUD'S-EYB VIEW. 

I AM the Haven in the Happy Family and 
nobody knows what a life of misery I h-ad ! 

The dog informs me (he was a puppy about 
town before he joined us ; which w;us lately) 
that there is more than one Happy Family on 
view in London. Mine, I beg to say, may 
be known by being the Family \viiich contains 
a splendid Raven. 

I want to know why I am to be called 
upon to accommodate myself to a cat, a mouse, 
a pigeon, a ringdove, an owl (who is the 
greatest ass I have ever known), a guinea-pig, 
a sparrow, and a variety of other creatures 
with whom I have no opinion in common. Is 
this national education 1 Because, if it is, I 
object to it. Is our cage what they call 
neutral ground, on which all parties may 
agree ? If so, war to the beak I consider 
preferable. 

What right has any man to require me to 
look complacently at a cat on a shelf all day '? 
It may be all very well for the owl. My 
opinion of him is that he blinks and stares 
himself into a state of such dense stupidity 
that he has no idea what company he is in. 
I have seen him, with my own eyes, blink him- 
self, for hours, into the conviction that lie was 
alone in a belfry. But / am not the owl. It 
would have been better for me, if I had been 
born in that station of life 

I am a Raven. I am, by nature, a sort of 
collector, or antiquarian. If I contributed, in 
my natural state, to any Periodical, it would 
be The Gentleman's Magazine. I have a 
passion for amassing things that are of no use 
to me, and burying them. Supposing such u 
thing I don't wish it to be known to our 
proprietor that I put this case, but I say, 
supposing such a thing as that I took out 
one of the Guinea-Pig s eyes ; how could I 
bury it here 1 The floor of the cage is not an 
inch thick. To be sure, I could dig through, 
it with my bill (if I dared), but what would 
be the comfort of dropping a Guinea-Pig's eye 
into Regent Street 1 

What / want, is privacy. I want to make 
a collection. I desire to get a little property 
together. How can I do it here I Mr. 
Hudson couldn't have done it, under corre- 
sponding circumstances. 

I want to live by my own abilities, instead 
of being provided for in this way. I am stuck 
in a cage with these incongruous companions, 
and called a member of the Happy Family ; 
but suppose you took a Queen's Counsel out 
of Westminster Hall, and settled him board 
and lodging free, in Utopia, where there 
would be no excuse for 'his quiddits, his 
quillets, his cases, his tenures, and his tricks,' 
how do you think he 'd like it ] Not at all. 
Then why do you expect me to like it, and 
add insult to injury by calling me a ' Happy r 
Raven ! 

This is what / say : I want to see men do 



Charles Dickens.] 



PERFECT FELICITY. 



37 



it. I should like to get up a Happy Family 
of men, and show 'em. I should like to put 
the Rajah Brooke, the Peace Society, Captain 
Aaron Smith, several Malay Pirates, Doctor 
Wiseman, the Reverend Hugh Stowell, Mr. 
.Fox of Oldhain, the Board of Health, all the 
London undertakers, some of the Common 
(very common 1 think) Council, and all the 
vested interests in the filth and misery of 
the poor, into a good-sized cage, and see how 
they'd get on. I should like to look in at 'em 
through the bars, after they had undergone 
the training I have undergone. You wouldn't 
lind Sir Peter Laurie ' putting down ' Sani- 
tary Reform then, or getting up in that vestry, 
and pledging his wrd and honour to the 
non-existence of Saint Paul's Cathedral, I 
expect ! And very happy he 'd be, would n't 
he, when* he couldn't do that sort of thing 1 

I have no idea of you lords of the creation 
coming staring at me in this false position. 
Why don't you look at home 1 If you think 
I 'm fond of the dove, you 're very much mis- 
taken. If you imagine there is the least good 
will between me and the pigeon, you never 
were more deceived in your lives. If you sup- 
pose I would n't demolish the whole Family 
(myself excepted), and the cage too, if I had 
my own way, you don't know what a real 
Raven is. But if you do know this, why am 
/ to be picked out as a curiosity 1 Why don't 
you go and stare at the Bishop of Exeter ? 
'Ecod, he 's one of our breed, if any body is ! 

Do you make me lead this public life because 
I seem to be what I ain't 1 Why, I don't 
make half the pretences that are common 
among you men ! You never heard me cull 
the sparrow my noble friend. When did 1 
ever tell the Guinea Pig that he was my 
Christian brother 1 Name the occasion of my 
making myself a party to the 'sham', (my 
friend Mr. Carlyle will lend me his favourite 
word for the occasion) that the cat hadn't 
really her eye upon the mouse ! Can you say 
as much ? What about the last Court Ball, 
the next Debate in the Lords, the last great 
Ecclesiastical Suit, the next long assembly in 
the Court Circular 1 I wonder you are not 
ashamed to look me in the eye ! I am an 
independent Member of the Happy Family ; 
and I ought to be let out. 

I have only one consolation in my inability 
to damage anything, and that is that I hope 
I am instrumental in propagating a delusion 
as to the character of Ravens. I have a strong 
impression that the sparrows on our beat 
are beginning to think they may trust 
a Raven. Let 'em try ! There's an uncle of 
mine, in a stable-yard down in Yorkshire, 
who will very soon undeceive any small bird 
that may favour him with a call. 

The dogs too. Ha ha ! As they go by, they 
look at me and this dog, in quite a friendly 
way. They never suspect how I should hold 
on to the tip of his tail, if I consulted my own 
feelings instead of our proprietor's. It's 
almost worth being here, to think of some 



confiding dog who has seen me, going too near 
a friend of mine who lives at a hackney-coach 
stand in Oxford Street. You wouldn't stop 
his squeaking in a hurry, if my friend got a 
chance at him. 

It's the same with the children. There's 
a young gentleman with a hat and feathers, 
resident in Portland Place, who brings a penny 
to our proprietor, twice a week. He wears 
very short white drawers, and has mottled 
legs above his socks. He hasn't the least idea 
what I should do to his legs, if I consulted 
my own inclinations. He never imagines what 
I am thinking of, when we look at one another. 
May he only take those legs, in their present 
juicy state, close to the cage of my brother- 
in-law of the Zoological Gardens, Regent's 
Park! 

Call yourselves rational beings, and talk 
about our being reclaimed? Why, there isn't 
one of us who wouldn't astonish you, if \ve 
could only get out ! Let me out, and see 
whether / should be meelc or not. But this 
is the way you always go on in you know 
you do. Up at Pentonville, the sparrow says 
and he ought to know, for he was born in a 
stack of chimneys in that prison you are 
spending I am afraid to say how much every 
year out of the rates, to keep men in solitxide, 
where they CAN'T do any harm (that you 
know of), and then you sing all sorts of cho- 
ruses about their being good. So am I what 
you call good here. Why ? Because I can't 
help it. Try me outside I 

You ought to be ashamed of yourselves, the 
Magpie says ; and I agree with him. If you 
are determined to pet only those who take 
things and hide them, why don't you pet the 
Magpie and me ? We are interesting enough 
for you, ain't we ? The Mouse says you are 
not half so particular about the honest people. 
He is not a bad authority. He was almost 
starved when he lived in a workhouse, wasn't 
he 1 He didn't get much fatter, I suppose, 
when he moved to a labourer's cottage f He 
was thin enough when he came from that 
place, here I know that. And what does 
the Mouse (whose word is his bond) declare ? 
He declares that you don't take half the caro 
you ought ; of your own young, and don't teach 
'em half enough. Why don't you then ? You 
might give our proprietor something to do, I 
should think, in twisting miserable boys and 
girls into their proper nature, instead of 
twisting us out of ours. You are a nice set of 
fellows, certainly, to come and look at Happy 
Families, as if you had nothing else to look 
after ! 

I take the opportunity of our proprietor's 
pen and ink in the evening, to write this. I 
shall put it away in a corner quite sure, as 
it 's intended for the Post Office, of Mr. Row- 
land Hill 's getting hold of it somehow, and 
sending it to somebody. I understand he can 
do anything with a letter. Though the Owl 
says (but I don't believe him), that the present 
prevalence of measles and chicken-pox among 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted ov 



infants in all parts of this country, has been 
caused by Mr. Rowland Hill. I hope 1 
needn't add that we Havens arc all good 
scholars, but that we keep our secret (as the 
Indians believe the Monkeys do, accordii 
a Parrot of my acquaintance) lest our abilities 
should be imposed upon. As nothing worse 
than my present degradation as a member of 
the Happy Family can happen to me, however, 
1 desert the General Freemasons' Lodge of 
Havens, and express my disgust in writing. 



A DIALOGUE OF SHADOWS. 



[Scene, Purgatory (1778). The Shades of an Englishman 
and a Frenchman arc pacing by the side of a gloomy 
river.] 

Englishman. What bustle is here ? Can we not 

groan in peace] 
Frenchman. There are some new arrivals. One, 

who comes 

Straight from the finest kingdom of the earth, 
Has caused a vast sensation. Here he is ! 

[The Shadt of Voltaire enters. 
Engl. I never saw a ghost so thin as this. 
Volt. Good day, Messieurs, if we may call this 

day! 

Faith, there 's a pleasant warmth about the place. 
After our rapid journey tbro' the dark, 
With cold winds driving us, and jarring atoms 
Whistling about our ears, 'tis not so bad 
To reach this hot and twilight land at last. 
Sir, if 't be not a liberty, may I ask 
For a pinch of charcoal. 

Frencti. With much pleasure, sir, 

[Presents his box. 
Any news from France ? 

Volt. France, sir, is growing young ; 

Thro' me, and d'Aleinbert, and Diderot, 
And that mad envious watchmaker, who did 
Good in his own despite. Before the earth 
Shall have swung a dozen times about the sun, 
Our dragon's seed will rise and show some fruit. 
French. We are glad to see you here, sir. 
Volt. Without doubt, sir. 

A strange place this. Our French geographers 
Had doubts if such a region were. Nay, some 
Proved to the satisfaction of their friends, 
That 'twas impossible. 

Enfj. So most things seem, 

Until they are discovered. 

Volt. " That 's well said ; 

Sir, I salute you. 

French. You '11 find some excellent company, 

Monsieur. 

Volt. You have some famous men here, doubt- 
less, sir. 
A priest or tv.-o ? 

French. A few. 

!''-'. I thought so, sir. 

A king perhaps ? 

ii.ch. Oh, plenty. Let rue see 

One, two, three. 

V<dt,. Sir, spare your arithmetic. 

1 am not curious. Yet, of these last, 



There 's surely one, who dwells in Prussia now, 
Win Mi over-arching arrogance should cast 
A shadow prematurely o'er the gulf, 
And send his image here 1 such things may he- 
One Frederick ? 

French. Called the Great 

Volt. By little men. 

Eny. A shadow slim, in cockthatand rigid boots \ 
Volt. The .si:iie : L; he al'.vay^ in the saddle now 1 

Frcncli. We have no horses here. 

Volt. Where are your ladies 1 

Any of them from France 1 

Enfj. Shoals locust-clouds 

We 've larger, lighter batches from this land, 
Thau all the rest of the globe. 

Volt. I shall be glad 

To renew friendship with some few of them. 
Madame du Ch&telet 

French. She was a friend of yours 1 

Volt. I bad some strong delusion of that sort. 
'Twas when she flattered me. But, tell me, sir, 
What time do you dine in this agreeable land 1 
I feel no appetite. 

Enfj. We do not dine. 

Volt. Not dine. When do you eat ? 

Eng. We do not cat. 

Volt. Humph ! that is odd. When do you sleep 1 

Enfj. We do not sleep. 

Volt. I' faith, this jest begins 

To grow a little serious. I thought I knew 
Somewhat of most things ; but this puzzles me. 
Lest I should err again, pray what do you here, 
In this most quiet kingdom all day long ? 
Nay, day and night ? What pastime 1 

E'icj. We repose ! 

Sometimes we dream ; of times and people gone, 
Sometimes of our own country ; we retrace 
Our course in earthly life ; our deeds 

Volt. I have done 

Some deeds myself. Perhaps, Monsieur, you havo 

seen 

A dictionary of mine, which made some noise ? 
A fable or two, which told some bitter truths ] 
A famous poem 1 mark me. 

Emj. Your great work, 

I have read, and much admired. 

Volt. The Ucnrh.de ? 

Sir, you have taste. 

Enfj. Not so : a work less large 

In bulk ; yet greater. 'Twas indeed no more 
Than a small memorial ; touch'd wi' the light of 

Truth, 

The strength of Right. Fine Sense and Pity joined, 
Begat it. It came forth, midst tears, and scorn, 
And burning anger. These inspired your pen 
To the argument, when murdered Galas died. 

Volt. You bring me light, sir, comfort, almost 

faith. 

The dark thoughts that at times have haunted me, 
The small ambition to be thought a wit, 
The wish to sting ruy many enemies, 
Scorn disappearing. Sir, my thanks ! I feel 
A warmth about my bosom, and begin 
To think that joys dwell not alone on earth, 
But some survive even in Purgatory. 



AN AUSTRALIAN PLOUGHMAN'S STOKY. 



AN AUSTEALIAN PLOUGHMAN'S 

STOEY. 

IN red hot haste to get out of a Colonial 
town where the life was too much like what 
I had sailed eighteen thousand miles to avoid, 
I agreed to my Mr. Gumscrew's terms with- 
out debate. Board and lodging for self and 
horse, undertaking to do the light work of 
the farm for twelve months without wages. 
On these conditions I took up my abode in a 
wooden hut thatched with hark, on which any 
well-bred short-horn would have looked with 
contempt. The sun and moon shone clearly 
through the chinks between the weather 
boards ; my bedstead was a bullock's hide 
stretched over four posts driven into the 
ground, a slip of green hide hanging from 
wall to wall, formed at once my clothes-horse 
and chest of drawers. 

To the great contempt of my companion 
and fellow lodger, the overseer, I did put up a 
shelf for a few of my books, and drive in a 
nail for a small shaving glass, although not 
then able to boast a beard. The floor was of 
clay, variegated with large holes where the 
morning broom had swept too hard. The fire- 
place, built of unhewn stone, formed a recess 
half the size of our apartment. The kitchen 
was detached, and although small, rather 
better constructed than our chief hut, for the 
cook built it himself, and being an ' old hand ' 
took pains with his special domain. 

If I had been ordered into such a dog-ken- 
nel in England how I should have grumbled, 
and devoured my heart, in vain complainings ; 
but now it was my own choice, I had hope 
lefore me, the glorious climate, the elastic 
atmosphere made chinks and cracks in walls 
of no conseqtience ; and when inclined to 
grumble, I thought of the dark den-like 
lawyer's office in which I had wearied away 
the last six months of my European life. 

After a few days spent in cantering round 
the neighbourhood, I was ready to commence 
my light ' duties.' 

Returning home one evening I stopped my 
horse to look at our ploughman breaking up 
a fine piece of alluvial flat, which had recently 
been cleared and fenced in. He had ten pair 
of oxen and a heavy swing plough at work. 
There was a man to help him to drive, but his 
voice was as good as his hands, and it was a 
pleasure to see him, as he turned up a broad 
furrow of virgin soil, and halted his team, and 
lifted the big plough over the roots of the 
stumps that dotted the paddock, as if it had 
been a feather weight. Our ploughman, Jem 
Garden Big Jem he was commonly called 
was a specimen of English peasantry such as 
we don't often see in Australia, tall, though a 
round shouldered stoop took off something 
from his height, large limbed but active, with 
a curly fair-haired bullet head, light-blue 
good-natured eyes, and hooked nose, large 
mouth full of good teeth, a solid chin, a colour 
which hard work and Australian sun could 



not extract, and an expression of respectful 
melancholy good nature that at once pre- 
possessed me in his favour. He was then in 
the prime of life, a perfect master of every 
kind of rural work, ploughing, sowing, reap- 
ing, mowing, thatcliing, breaking-in, and 
driving bullocks and horses, and not less an 
adept in all Colonial pursuits, for he could do as 
much with a saw, an auger, an axe, and an adze 
as a European workman with a complete 
chest of tools. He was a very good fellow, 
too, always ready to help any one at a pinch ; 
when the stockman broke his leg he walked 
twenty miles through the rain, a tropical rain 
in bucketfuls, although they had fought the 
day before about a dog of Jem's, the stockman 
had been ill using ; and yet Big Jem was a 
convict, or speaking colonially, ' a prisoner.' 

About a year after my arrival at the Sta- 
tion, Mr. Gumscrew having purchased a large 
herd of cattle a bargain from a person living 
some 200 miles from us, in the Mochi dis- 
trict, where all the grass was burned up, 
determined on sending me for them, as there 
was little doing at Springhill, and left me to 
choose any one I pleased to accompany me. 
I chose Garden. 

We got our horses into the paddock close to 
the hut overnight ; the next morning, at sun- 
rise, buckled a blanket, a couple of shirts, a 
bag of tea and sugar, a quart pot, arid a pair 
of hobbles to my saddle, and started in high 
spirits. 

Now, li ving in the Bush, and especially while 
travelling, there is not the same distance be- 
tween a master and well-behaved man, al- 
though a prisoner, as in towns. From the first 
I was interested in the ploughman, so I took 
the opportunity of this expedition to learn 
more about him. 

We travelled all day from sunrise to sun- 
down, seldom going off a walk, at which our 
horses could do nearly five miles an hour : 
toward evening we tried to strike some sta- 
tion or shepherd's hut, the whereabouts of 
which Jem generally knew by the mixture 
of experience and instinct that constitute a 
perfect Bushman ; if we could not light upon 
a hut we camped down near a waterhole, 
lighted a fire on some hollow fallen gum-tree, 
hobbled out our horses on the pasture near, 
put the quart pots to boil, the damper (flour 
cake) in the ashes to bake, and smoked our pipes 
until all was ready ; then rolling up each in his 
blanket, slept soundly on the bare ground. 

I think it was on the third day that we 
came upon a long stretch of open undulating 
country, where the grass scarcely gave back 
a sound to our horses' feet. I dropped the 
reins on my little mare's neck, and began to 
fill my pipe ; but seeing Garden's pipe still 
stuck in his straw hat, 1 knew he must be 
bankrupt in a Bushman's greatest luxury, so 
handed him my pouch, and said, ' Come, ride 
along side me, and tell me how you came 
here ; for I cannot imagine how so honest a 
fellow ever got into trouble.' 



40 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Couuucieil by 



' Master,' lie answered, ' I '11 tell you all 
the truth ; but give me a little time, for mv 
heart 's full, and it will take us a good three 
hours to get across these plains.' So we 
paced on in silence for the space of one pipe, 
when he spoke again, and said, ' Master, ex- 
cuse me, but I 'm not much of a scholar, and 
if you would read me a chapter from this 
book, it would do me a power o' good. I try 
sometimes myself to spell it out, but somehow 
I can't see the letters " plain." ' His eyes 
were full of tears as he timidly handed a black 
clasped copy of the Bible. 

There was something painful in the emotion 
and humbleness of a strong man before me a 
stripling alone with him in a desert. 

I took the book from him ; on the flyleaf 
\pas written, ' Lucy Garden on her Marriage 
from her friend and pastor the Rev. Charles 
Calton,' and turning it over it opened at the 
51st Psalm : instinctively, I began to read 
aloud, until I came to the 17th verse, ' The 
sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken 
and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not 
despise.' At these words my companion wept 
aloud, and murmured, ' Oh, my poor wife ' 
and I, too, I knew not why, also wept. 

Then we rode on in silence for some time ; 
from a confused reverie I was awakened by 
my companion saying in a hoarse voice, 
'Master, I am ready I can tell you my 
story now. 

' I was born in a village in Hampshire, the 
youngest of a large family the son of labour- 
ing people. As soon as I had strength and 
voice enough, I was sent into the fields to 
scare the birds from the corn, and at eight 
years old, I began to drive plough for my 
father, so I got very little schooling but what 
I picked up in the winter evenings at a school 
kept by an old pensioned soldier. To tell the 
truth, I never liked my books when I was 
young, for which now I have often need to be 
sorry. But I was a strong hearty lad, ami 
no out-door work came amiss to me. As 
soon as I could stand to them, I took hold of 
the stilts of the plough, and by the time 1 
was sixteen, I could do a man's day's work. 

When I was seventeen I won a great plough- 
ing match. Among the young gentlemen that 
came to see it was our young 'Squire, that 
owned nearly all the parish. He had just 
left College, and come into his fortune, for his 
father had been dead a many years. He was 
so much pleased with what he saw at the 
ploughiug-match, that he determined to take 
the Home Farm into his own hands, and 
nothing would serve him but that I must be 
his head ploughman ; indeed, I believe if I 
had understood writing and cyphering', he 
would have made me his bailiff, for he was 
a young gentleman that nothing could stop 
when he took a fancy into his head. I mind 
well when he sent me off at twelve o'clock at 
night to London in his own carriage to buy a 
team of Suffolk Punches, he had heard of from 
a gentleman that was dining with him. Well, 



this made a man of me at once. 1 was as tall 
.as I am now, and I'm afraid I grew spoiled 
with so much good. I was coin-Ling my Lucy 
at the time. She was the only daughter of 
the blacksmith in the next village, and if ever 
there was an angel she was one. The parson 
and his daughters noticed her a good deal, 
because she was clever at her book and sang 
so sweetly at church. Her ihther was a 
drunken old chap ; her mother had been dead 
many year's. I used to look out for him when 
he came down to our village, as he often did 
to drink and play at bowls, and see him safe 
over the stiles when he was ill able to walk 
straight. Many and many a day, after plon gl i - 
ing a^l day, and supping up my horses, have 
I walked five miles, half leading, half carrying, 
old Johnny Dunn, for the sake of five minutes' 
talk to dear Lucy. Well, one night, in a 
wet autumn, I was up at the Hall to take the 
'Squire's instructions ; for he loved, when he 
had strangers from London, to have me in after 
dinner, to give me a glass o' wine and make 
believe of talking farming ; old Dunn tried to 
get home after an evening's bouse by a short 
cut over a ford I had often led him, missed 
his footing, and was found by some lads that 
went next morning to take up their night 
lines, stone dead drowned. 

'There was poor Lucy left all alone in the 
world, for her father, who had been a dragoon 
farrier, and married one of Parson Calton's 
maid-servants, had no relations in that part of 
the country. 

' I was getting good wages : there was a 
cottage and garden, belonging to the plough- 
man of the Home Farm, that I had never 
taken up, because I had lived with my father. 
The 'Squire made me many presents, and I 
had saved a little money, made by working 
at different things in winter evenings, being 
always handy with tools. Well, to make a 
long story short, Lucy found her father had 
left nothing behind him but a quarter's pen- 
sion he had not had time to drink, a few 
pounds dua for work, and the furniture of his 
cottage. She had nobody to take care of her, 
so we moved the furniture to my cottage, and 
were married before I was nineteen, and on 
the day Parson Calton gave her that Bible, 
that never has left me since I left her. Many 
people blamed us, and wanted us to wait. 
I don't think good Mr. Calton quite liked it, 
but his daughters were well pleased, and gave 
Lucy her wedding dress. Oh, God, sir, when 
I think upon those days, on two years that 
followed, and think of what I am, I wonder 
how I live and keep my senses. There was 
not a happier couple or prettier cottage in 
the county. My working days were not hard, 
for I had Lucy to welcome me home ; and 
then on Sundays, to see her dressed in her 
best and walk across the fields to church, 
and hear her sing! Why, there was not a 
lady hi the county could compare with her, 
and I have heard many great gentlemer 
say so. 



Charles Dickens.l 



AN AUSTRALIAN PLOUGHMAN'S STORY. 



41 



'I had a child, too, a darling little Lucy. 
* * * But this was too much happiness to 
last;, we had been v married just two years. 
The 'Squire stopped at our cottage, as he was 
riding by on his way to London, to settle about 
a ploughing-match that he had determined to 
make up for the next week, and talked over 
,1 plan for breaking up a lot of old pasture. 
A fortnight afterwards the bailiff came down 
with a letter in his hand, and said with a grave 
face, " Garden, I have some bad news for you ; 
the 'Squire has determined to give up farm- 
ing, and is going to foreign parts. I am to 
discharge all the hinds as soon as I can get a 
tenant for the farm. You are to be paid up 
to Christmas, and you may keep the cottage 
until the farm 's let, but I rather think Farmer 
Bullivant will take it." 

Here was a blow ; we had thought our- 
selves provided for for life, and now we had a 
home and a living to seek. Farmer Bullivant 
would not keep me on, I knew well ; he had 
liis own ploughman, a relation. Well, we 
were put to sore straits ; but at last I got 
another place, although at lower wages, some 
distance from my native village. Hard times 
came on ; wages were lowered again and 
again ; and at the same time a cry rose up 
round the country against the threshing- 
machines that were being very much used, 
and were throwing a good many poor people 
out of work. The people in England, sir, are 
not as we are here, sir, a very few words, and 
one or two desperate fellows can always lead 
them ; they are so ignorant, they are ready 
for anything when they are badly off. 

' I went xip one night to get my wages, and 
behold, when I got me to the farmer's house, 
the bailiffs were in, and he going to be sold up, 
and the winter coming on. I walked toward 
home half mad ; passing by a public-house, 
who should be at the door but the 'Squire's 
gamekeeper -he kept him on and he being 
sorry to see me so downcast, for he was a good 
kind fellow, though a gamekeeper, would 
make me take a glass with him ; I think I 
had not been in a public-house since I had 
been married. The drink and the grief flew 
up into my head ; before I got home, I fell in 
with a crowd of friends and fellow-labourers 
holloing and shouting. They had been break- 
ing Farmer Bullivant's threshing machine, 
and swore they 'would not leave one in the 
county. I began to try to persuade them to 
go away quietly, but they ended by persuading 
me; we met a machine, as ill-luck would 
have it, on the road just turning into Farmer 
Grinder's stack-yard. We smashed it to 
pieces ; in the middle of the row the soldiers 
came up. I was taken in the act, with about 
twenty others ; they lodged us in Winchester 
gaol the same night. The assizes were 
Bitting ; they tried us in batches, and found 
us guilty almost as soon as \ve came into 
court. I never saw r.vy poor wife until the 
moment when the juoVe sentenced me to 
transportation for life. 'I hear her scream 



often now ; I wake with it in the middle 
of the night. We had no time to get 
any one to speak to character for us ; we 
had no lawyer or counsellor. Such poor 
people as we were had no friends of any use. 
The farmers who knew us were too angry and 
too frightened although some of them were 
the first to speak against the threshing- 
machines. Good Parson Caltoii had been 
away, ill and dying, or I do not think it 
would have happened. For where are we 
poor countrymen to look for a friend wiser 
than ourselves if the Parson or the 'Squire 
does not stand by us.? 

' My wife came to see me in prison, and 
wept so we could not talk much ; for it was 
so quick, so sudden it seemed like a horrid 
dream ; for me to be a felon for me, that 
could not strike a blow against any man, ex- 
cept in fair fight that never wronged a 
living soul out of a farthing to be the same 
as robbers and murderers ! Well, I advised 
her to get quit of all bits of furniture, and try 
to get to service, through the Miss Caltons. 
I knew they were not rich, and could not 
help except by giving her a good name by 
giving a character to the convict's wife ! We 
were to have met again the next day ; the 
poor soul had walked twenty miles to Win- 
chester, and a fruit-woman that was in court 
took pity on her when she fainted, and gave 
her half her bed. But the same night I was 
waked up from the first sound sleep I had 
had since I was taken, and put into a coach 
with a lot of others, with a guard of soldiers, 
and sent off to the hulks ; and in three days 
we sailed for Botany Bay, as they called it in 
England. Oh, sir, that time was terrible. 
There were many on board that thought 
the punishment a pleasure voyage. They 
had no wives, no children to love. They had 
no good name to lose ; they had not lived in 
one parish to know and love every stick and 
stone in it, They boasted of their villany, 
and joked at the disgraceful dress ; they only 
found fault with the food, and the labour of 
helping to stow the ship ; I did not care for 
the food or the work. They made me a 
constable on the voyage, and I landed with a 
good character from the surgeon in charge. 

I was assigned straight away to Major Z . 

You must have heard, sir, what a terrible 
man he was. A rich man that had forgotten 
he had once been poor. He had more cattle 
and stock of all kinds than he could count ; 
he starved us, he cursed us, and very few 
Mondays passed that he didn't take up five 
or six for a flogging. But he was very glad 
to get me and three or four of the same lot, 
for it was not often such regular first-rate 
husbandmen came into the colony, so we 
were better treated than many. For in those 
times, if masters could be hard where they 
took a spite, still prisoners had a good chance 
of getting on. Well, my spirits rose and I 
began to have some hope when I found that, 
with good luck, I might have my " ticket," 



42 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



that would give liberty in the colony, in seven 
years, jnul when I saw so many who had been 
prisoners riding about in their carriages, or 
driving teams of their own, as good as the 
'Squire's. Indeed, those that had good masters 
got on very well, but it was commonly thought 

that Major Z never parted with a good 

man if he could help it. He was sure to 
make up some charge and get him flogged, 
so as to put off the time for his getting a 
ticket of leave. 

' I had driven oxen at home and soon got 
into the ways of the colony, when, one day, 
the master came down to see a new piece of 
land I had been breaking up near a house he 
was building, and was so pleased that he 
began to talk quite kindly, although every 
second word was an oath, and asked me all 
about myself. Well, I told him, and made 
bold to say that, as he was going to build a 
large dairy, if he would send for my wife 
and child we would serve him for any wages 
he choose, all the days of our lives. He 
turned on me like a tiger, he cursed me, he 
told me he wanted no women or brats on his 
estate, no canting saints, no parsons, all he 
wanted was men that could work, and work 
they should. " If, you fool," he said, " you had 
asked for a gallon of rum among the gang 
you might have had it, and drowned all your 
troubles, but I '11 have no women here, wives 
or no wives." 

' I think at that moment Satan took posses- 
sion of me. I was ready to do anything for 
my liberty, or to be free from my tyrant, and 
there were tempters enough all round me. 
A few days afterwards one of my fellow 
servants, an old hand, who had heard the last 
part of my master's speech, came to me in 
the evening, and, after telling me that he 
supposed I had found out that nothing was 
to be got by fair means, that my master was 
a rogue, in fact that every one was a rogue 
who was not a fool, he began to hint that he 
could tell me a way to get my wife out and 
my liberty too. I swallowed the bait, I 
listened ; then he went on to show how with 
money anything could be done in the colony, 
told me instances of tickets and conditional 
pardons, besides escapes managed by bribing, 
and then, when I was thoroughly poisoned, 
he swore me to secrecy and explained how, 
out of a thousand bullocks, a few pair 
would never be missed ; so that all I had to 
do when I took a bullock team to Sydney 
was to yoke an extra pair of young bullocks, 
making ten or twelve pair, instead of eight 
or ten a butcher, near where the drays gene- 
rally stood, was all ready prepared to take and 
pay for, as many pair of bullocks as I chose 
to drive in. They were worth from 101. to 121. 
each, and I was to have 61. for every pair. 

' I refused point blank.' " Well," he said, " I 
rely on your honour not to peach." He knew 
he had caught me. My master took an early 
opportunity of having me flogged on a charge 
of insolence ; the magistrates were two friends 



who had been dining with him. My tempter 
came to me again, and, on the next oppor- 
tunity, I drove in the bullocks and became a 
thief. Having begun I could not stop ; my 
tempter became my tyrant ; to drown care I 
began to drink and to associate with the old 
hands, and then the money, for which I had 
resigned body and soul, melted away. What 
I saved up I knew not what to do with, and 
so I went on getting worse and worse, until 
one day, just as I was driving a pair of young 
heifers into the butcher's yard, I was arrested, 
tried, and convicted on the evidence of my 
fellow-servant, who, having been found out in 
another robbery, saved himself by turning on 
me. I was sentenced to three years hard 
labour in an iron gang on the Blue mountains. 
What I sutfered in those three years no 
tongue can tell. I was coupled with a wretch 
who had been a thief from his childhood, a 
burglar, and a murderer, but there was one 
man, a political prisoner sentenced to the iron 
gang for striking his overseer, who saved me, 
and spoke words of comfort to me ; my term 
was shortened a year for rescuing a gentleman 
from a bush ranger, and Major Z - having 
left the colony, I was assigned to my pre- 
sent master. In another year I shall have my 
ticket, but what I shall do heaven only knows. 
I have had one letter from my wife ; she 
was living as dairy-maid with one of the Miss 
Caltons, who had married a country gentle- 
man ; they were very good to her, and I think 
her letter, full of good words, helped to save 
me from total ruin. But you, sir, are almost the 
only gentleman that has spoken a kind word 
to me in the Colony. We live like beasts of 
the field, working and well-fed, but nothing 
more. On many stations the prisoners don't 
even know when Sunday comes round, and 
we die like dogs.' 

Here he paused : and I felt so much affected \ 
by his melancholy story, that I could not at 
the time answer him, or offer any words of 
comfort. 

In my various wanderings I lost sight of 
Garden for two or three years ; but one day 
as I was going down to Sydney with a mob 
of horses of my own for sale, at a roadside 
inn I met Jem Garden, at the head of a 
party of splitters and fencers doing some 
extensive work in the neighbourhood on a 
new station ; he was looking thin, haggard, 
nervous, and was evidently ashamed to meet 
me. In fact he was only just recovering from 
a drunken spree ; I taxed him with his folly ; 
he owned it, and showed me the cause. He 
could earn with ease at piece-work, from 51. 
to 81. a week, building stations and stock- 
yards. Twice he had saved, and paid into 
the hands of apparently respectable parties, 
40/., to remit for the passage of his wife and 
daughter. The first time the dashing Mr.W 
was insolvent two days after receiving the 
money. In the second instance he was kept 
nine months in suspense, and then learned 
from England by letter and in the Sydney list 



Charles Dickens.] 



HEATHEN AND CHRISTIAN BURIAL. 



43 



of bankrupts, that he had been again swindled. 
'And what,' he asked, when he had concluded 
this tale of pitiful, contemptible robbery, 
' what can a poor fellow do but drink his 
cares away, when all striving to be honest 
and happy is in vain ! ' 

I thought, but did not say, how uneven 
were the" laws that sent Jem to the iron 
gang for stealing a bullock, and had no punish- 
ment for those who devoured his hard earn- 
ings, and laughed at him from their carriages. 
Thank God, a better system has been estab- 
lished, and government now charges itself with 
the passage-money of poor men's relations. 

But barren sympathy was of little use, so I 
turned to the ploughman, and said, ' What 
money have you left?' 'About lOl. in the 
landlord's hands ; he's an honest man, although 
a publican.' 'And what are you to have from 
this contract ? ' ' My share will be over 401., 
and I can get it done in less than six weeks, 
working long hours.' ' Then hand me over 
the 10L, give me your solemn promise not to 
touch anything stronger than Bushman's tea 
for twelve months, and to let me have 301. out 
of your contract when I return this way, and 
I will send the money for you.' 

To cut this long story short, I put the busi- 
ness in the hands of my excellent friend 
B******, one of the modern race of Austra- 
lians, wealthy, warm-hearted, and liberal, 



HEATHEN AND CHRISTIAN BUEIAL. 



IF, from the heights of our boasted civilisa- 
tion, we take a retrospect of past history, or a 
survey of other nations savage nations in- 
cluded, we shall, with humiliation, be forced 
to acknowledge that in no age and in no 
country have the dead been disposed of so pre- 
judicially to the living as in Great Britain. 
Consigning mortal remains to closely-packed 
burial-grounds in crowded cities ; covering 
scarcely interring them so superficially that 
exposure sometimes shocks the sentiments, 
while the exhalations of putrefaction always 
vitiate the air, is a custom which prejudice 
has preserved the longest to this land. A 
calculation made by Dr. Playfair, and quoted 
by the Board of Health in their admirable 
report on Burials, estimates the amount of 
noxious gases evolved annually from the 
metropolitan grave-yards alone at 55.261 cubic 
feet per acre. The average of corpses packed 
into each acre is 1117 ; therefore, as 52,000 
interments take place every year, the entire 
amount of poison-gas emitted per annum to 
enter the lungs of the Londoners, and hasten 
their descent to the grave to contribute "fresh 
supplies for their successors, is 2,572,580 cubic 
feet. 

It is our present purpose to see whether 
such a fact can be paralleled by researches 



who was on his way to England. Within a ! into the past or by a short survey of the man- 
year the ploughman embraced his wife ; they j ners and customs of existing savage life itself 



returned with me to my station, they passed 
some years with me, and some eventful scenes, 
before the district round me was settled. 
They have now a station and farm of their 



-adding such of the singular or instructive 
funeral ceremonies of the various people as 
will prove interesting. 

Among the most ancient records are those 



own ; they are growing rich, as all such indus- of the Egyptians. The care of that extra- 
trious people clo in Australia, but they have j ordinary people for their dead, both as to 
not foi-gotten that they once were poor. If actual preservation and that they should not 



you need a subscription for a church, a school, 
or a sick emigrant, you may go to Mr. Garden, 
safe of a generous answer. It is Mr. Garden 
now ; and perhaps that fine little boy may 
sit a native Representative in an Australian 
Parliament. A tall youth who rides beside 
him, is not las son but the orphan child 
of a poor prisoner, whom he adopted 'to 
make up in part,' as he expressed it, 'for 
what happened long ago.' 

Lucy Garden, now the mother of a numerous 
brood of Australians, has grown happy and 
portly, although you may trace on her mild 
features the tide marks of past grids. 

The last time I saw them I w*s on my way 
to England, ' Oh, sir,' said the happy hus- 
band and father, ' tell the wretched and the 
starving how honest, sober labour is sure of a 
full reward here. Tell them that here poverty 
may be turned to competence, crime to repent- 
ance and happiness. And pray tell the great 
gentlemen who rule us that wo much 'need 
both preachers and teachers in this wide 
Bush of Australia, but that it is virtuous 
wives who rule us most, and in a lovely land 
make the difference between happiness and 
misery.' 



become noxious to the living, has never been 
surpassed. This partly arose, it is true, from 
a superstitious reverence for the material part 
of man ; but that superstition doubtless 
originated from the wise sanitary regulations 
of their early sages. The laws of Leviticus 
many of them instituted to prevent disease 
and the depreciation of the species formed, 
in like manner, a main part of the religion of 
the Jews. 

The ancient Egyptians believed that the 
soul would return, after the lapse of ages, to 
inhabit, in this world, the same body from 
which it had been separated by death. In 
this belief commenced the process of embalm- 
ing by which the bodies of that people have 
been preserved with wonderful integrity to the 
present day. To so extraordinary a point had 
the antiseptic art been brought that, as ap- 
pears from Diodorus, there was a mode of 
preservation which ensured the retaining of 
the eyebrows, eyelashes, and the general ex- 
ternal character of the person, who could be 
recognised by their form and features. 
' Whence,' says Dr. Pocock, in his Travels 
through Egypt, ' many of the Egyptians kept 
the bodies of their ancestors in houses [but 



44 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted b; 



never near their own residences] adorned at a 
very great expense, and had the pleasure to 
see their forefathers, who had been dead i 
years before they were bom, and to observe 
all their features as well as if they were living." 
The painter's art has in modern Jimes su 
ledfiu tliese curious picture galleries. 

Another peculiarity could not have been due 
to superstition, but to a more rational care of 
the living than we at present evince, namely, 
uhe distance of their great burial places from 
their chief cities. The Nile intervened ; the 
Necropoli, including the range of stupendous 
pyramid.-!, were formed on the western, while 
the most considerable towns were on the 
eastern bank of that river. Diodorus gives 
an interesting account of the ceremonies arising 
out of this wise arrangement. 

' Those who prepare to bury a relative, give 
notice of the day intended for 'the ceremony, 
to the Judges and all the friends of the de- 
ceased, informing them that the body will 
pass over the lake of that district, or that part 
of the Nile, to which the dead belonged ; 
when, on the Judges assembling to the num- 
ber of more than forty, and ranging them- 
selves in a semicircle on the further side of 
the lake, the vessel provided for this purpose 
is set afloat. It is guided by a pilot called in 
the Egyptian language, Charon; and hence 
they say that Orpheus, travelling in old times 
into Egypt, and seeing this ceremony, formed 
the fable of the infernal regions, partly from 
what he saw, and partly from invention. The 
vessel being launched on the lake, before the 
coffin which contains the body is put on board, 
the law permits all who are so inclined, to 
bring forward an accusation against it. If any 
one steps forth, and proves that the deceased 
had led an evil life, the Judges pronounce 
sentence, and the body is precluded from 
burial ; but if the accuser is convicted of 
injustice in his charge, he himself incurs a 
considerable penalty. When no accuser ap- 
pears, or when the accusation is proved to be 
false, the relations present change their ex- 
pressions of sorrow into praises of the dead.' 
The author adds, that many kings had been 
judicially deprived of the honours of burial 
by the indignation of their people ; and that 
the dread ot such a fate had the most salu- 
tary influence on the lives of the Egyptian 
sovereigns. 

Two singular coincidences will occur to the 
reader on perusing this passage : A post- 
mortem trial, precisely similar to that de- 
scribed above, forms part of the Roman Ca- 
tholic ritual of Canonising a Saint. Before 
the defunct can be inscribed in the Calendar, 
a person appears to set forth all the involun- 
tary candidate's sins and backslidings during 
life ; and if these be of a venal character he 
is rejected. This officer is called 'The Devil's 
advocate.' Secondly, the ancient Egyptian and 
excellent system of funereal water conveyance 
is, it would appear, to be revived. In the 
Report of the Board of Health, dated two 



thousand years later than that of Diodorus 
Siculus, the most extensive new burial-place 
recommended, is to be on the borders of the 
Thames ; and one of the Board's propositions 
runs thus : 

' That, considering the river as a highway 
passing through the largest extent of densely- 
peopled districts, the facilities for establishing 
houses of reception on its banks, the conve- 
niences arising from the shorter distances 
within the larger portion of the same area for 
the removal of the bodies to such houses of 
reception, the advantages of steam boat con- 
veyance over that by railway in respect to 
tranquillity, and the avoidance of any large 
number of funerals at any one point, at any 
one time, and of any interference with com- 
mon traffic and with the throng of streets ; 
and, lastly, taking into account its great com- 
parative cheapness, it is desirable that the 
chief metropolitan cemetery should be in some 
eligible situation accessible by water carriage.' 

The case of the Jews is stronger than that 
of the Egyptians, as showing saner modes of 
burial than AVC have so long persisted in. 
They had no especial regard for the mere 
body, except as the temple of the soul ; hence, 
a burial-place was, with them, the house of 
the living ; an expression finely implying that 
death is the parent of immortal life. Their 
cemeteries were always in sequestered spots. 
In the 23rd chap, of Genesis we find that 
Abraham, when his wife Sarah died, desired 
a family burying-ground from the tribe among 
whom he lived : 

'And Abraham stood up from before his dead, 
and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying, 

' I am a stranger and a sojouraer with you ; give 
me possession of a burying-place with you, that I 
may buiy my dead out of my siyld.' 

A ready consent was given, and he was 
offered the choice of their sepulchres. But 
this did not satisfy him : he wished to obtain 
the Cave of Machpelah, and the field in which 
it lay, from Ephron, the son of Zohar. The 
generous proprietor offered it as a gift, but 
the Patriarch purchased it. Thus the first 
transference on record of real property was 
the acquisition, in perpetuity, by the patriarch 
Abraham, of a family burying-ground es- 
pecially selected for its seclusion. 

Nor was the classic heathen of a moi-e 
western clime less mindful of public health 
in his modes of disposing of the dead. 
The Romans, being largely indebted to the 
Greeks for their science, literature, arts, and 
habits of life, of course adopted their funeral 
ceremonies ; and one general description may 
suffice for those of both. By law of the 
Twelve Tables, burial was prohibited within 
the city of Rome, and therefore cemeteries 
were provided without the walls.* 

Immediately after the death, the body was 
washed, anointed with aromatic unguents, 
and sometimes embalmed. It was shrouded 

* ' Hominem Mortuum in urbe ne septlito neve unto! 



Charles Dickens. I 



HEATHEN AND CHEISTIAN BTJEIAL. 



45 



in fine linen ; white with the Greeks and 
black with the Etonians. If the departed was 
a person of rank, he was clothed in his gar- 
ments of ceremony, kept for- seven days during 
the preparations for the funeral, and lay in 
state in the vestibule of his house, at the door 
of which were placed branches of pine or 
cypress, together with the hair of the de- 
ceased, which had been consecrated to the 
infernal deities. In Eome, between death and 
burial seven days elapsed. The funeral was 
attended by the friends and relatives of the 
deceased, who were bidden by a herald, pro- 
nouncing the invitation : ' It is time for 
whoever wishes, to go to the funeral of N. son 
of N.; who is now to be borne from home.'* 

The remains of persons who had done 
service to the state were honoured by the 
attendance of public officers, and sometimes 
the procession was followed by large bodies 
of the people. According to one of the laws 
of Solon, the Athenians carried out the bodies 
of the dead before sunrise, especially the 
young, in order that the orb of day might not 
throw his light on so sad a- spectacle, or by 
his heat induce decomposition prematurely. 
The body was laid on a bier, crowned with 
flowers, and having the face exposed. The 
bier was followed by the funeral procession, 
among whom, at Eoman funerals, there was 
often a mime, or buffoon, wearing the dress 
of the deceased, and giving satirical imita- 
tions of his 'bearing and manners. At the 
funeral of the Emperor Vespasian, the lustre 
of whose many virtues was tarnished by love 
of money, a celebrated buffoon (as Suetonius 
tells us) acted the pai't of the emperor, 
mimicking, as was customary, the deportment 
and language of the deceased. Having asked 
the managers of the funeral what would be 
the amount of its expense, and being answered 
that it would cost a sum equivalent to eighty- 
thousand pounds, he replied, that if they 
would give him eight hundred, he would 
throw himself into the Tiber for drowning 
was thought so revolting a death, that bodies 
rejected by the waves were denied sepulture. 
The bust of the deceased, his warlike trophies, 
or decorations of honour, were conspicuously 
exhibited in the procession. His family fol- 
lowed the bier, walking bareheaded and bare- 
footed, with dishevelled hair, and mourning 
dresses of black ; and after them came bands 
of hired mourners, male and female, who rent 
the air with cries and lamentations. Thus the 
body was conveyed to the place of sepulture. 

The claims to antiquity vaunted by the 
Chinese next force upon attention their pro- 
visions against allowing the dead to interfere 
with the well-being of the living. As they 
believe themselves perfect, to alter any one 
custom is sacrilege punishable with death ; 
hence they observe the same ceremonies now, 
that their ancestors did several thousand years 
ago. ' Their tombs and sepulchres,' says Mr. 

* ' Exeguias N., N. filii, quibus cst commodus ire, tempus est : 
ollus {itte} ex adibus effertar.' 



Sirr, ' are always built outside the city walls, 
and usually upon a hill, which is planted with 
ypress and pine trees.' In China nothing is 
so offensive to good breeding as the remotest 
allusion to death. A number of amusing peri- 
phrases are therefore' resorted to when a hint 
of the subject is unavoidable ; a funeral is 
called from the kind of mourning used : ' A 
White affair.' 

In Persia intramural burials are also for- 
bidden. ' The place of sepulture,' says a Persian 
sage, ' must be far from dwellings : near it 
must be no cultivation ; nor the business ne- 
cessarily attending the existence of dwellings ; 
no habitation nor population must be near 
it.' This is another ancient injunction in 
remarkable accordance with one of the recom- 
mendations of our modern sages, the Board of 
Health. 

The Mahommedans again show much 
better taste than Christians in their Mau- 
soleums and burial-places they never bury 
in their temples or within the walls of a town. 

Among the funeral customs of the other 
inhabitants of the East, that of burning the 
dead is of very great antiquity. The Jews 
adopted it only in emergencies. When Saul 
fell on the fatal field of Gilboa, and his body 
was left exposed by the enemy, it was burnt 
by his faithful followers (1 Samuel, chap, xxxi., 
v. 11 13). From a passage in the book of 
Amos (chap, vi., v. 10), it appears that the 
bodies of the dead were burnt in times of pesti- 
lence, no doubt on sanitary grounds. For the 
same reason, incineration has been habitually 
perpetuated in tropical climates, but has been 
accompanied unhappily with the most horrible 
superstitions, particularly in Hindustan, where 
it is associated with the self-sacrifice of the 
widow on the funeral pile of her dead hus- 
band. The origin of this last custom, as a 
religious rite, has been the subject of much 
investigation and discussion among learned 
Orientalists ; but Colebrooke, in his paper on 
the ' Duties of a Faithful Hindoo Widow,' in 
the fourth volume of the Asiatic Researches, 
has shown that this, among other duties of a 
faithful widow, is prescribed by the ancient 
Sanscrit books of the Bramins. Bernier, the 
French traveller, who visited India at the 
time when this practice of self-immolation 
was very general, gives striking descriptions 
of several scenes of this kind which he wit- 
nessed. The heroine of one of them was a 
woman who had been engaged in some love 
intrigues with a young Mahommedan, her 
neighbour, who was a tailor, and could play 
finely on the tabor. This woman, in the 
hopes of marrying her paramour, poisoned her 
husband, and then told the tailor that it was 
time for them to elope together, as they had 
projected, as, otherwise, she should be obliged 
to burn herself. The young man, fearing lest 
he might be entangled in a dangerous affair, 
flatly refused. The woman, expressing no 
surprise, went to her relations and informed 
them of the sudden death of her husband, pro- 



48 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



testing that she would not survive him, but 
would burn hei-selt' along with him. Her 
kindred, well satisfied with so generous a 
resolution and the great honour thereby done 
to the whole family, presently had a pit made 
and filled with wood, exposing the corpse upon 
it, and kindling the fire. All being prepared, 
the woman went to embrace and take farewell 
of all her kindred and friends who surrounded 
the pit, among whom was the tailor, who had 
been invited to play upon the tabor along with 
a number of other minstrels, as was usual on 
such occasions. The woman, having come to 
the place where the young man stood, made a 
sign as if she would bid him farewell with the 
rest ; but, instead of gently embracing him, 
she seixed him by the collar with both hands, 
dragged him with all her strength to the pit, 
into which she threw herself and him together, 
and both instantly perished in the flames. 

It was not till a comparatively recent period 
that the British Government made any at- 
tempt to abolish or check this barbarous 
custom : being unwilling, it would seem, to 
interfere with the religious rites and usages of 
the natives. The tardy intervention of the 
British Government has at length effectually 
put an end to the practice ; and the natives 
themselves, instead of resenting this measure 
as a violation of their religion, have (as might 
have been expected) universally hailed it as a 
deliverance from a horrible oppression under 
which they groaned, but from which they 
were unable to emancipate themselves. 

Throughout the greatest part of the wide 
region comprehended under the general name 
of India, this practice of burning the dead 
prevails, except among those w r ho profess Ma- 
iiommedanism. In the kingdom of Siam, it 
is regarded as the most honourable funeral ; 
the bodies of criminals, and of persons dis- 
graced, being buried. In the Birman empire, 
burning is the established practice. 

In colder climates where the necessity for 
the rapid disposal of mortality is not so 
great, cremation has not been prevalent. 
Among the Greeks and Romans, it was 
confined to the wealthier classes, because of 
its expensiveness. When the Romans burnt 
the bodies of the dead, the ashes were ga- 
thered and enclosed in a vase or urn, which 
was sometimes deposited in the burial-place 
of the family, and sometimes preserved by 
them in their house. Among the remains of 
antiquity which have been found in Britain, 
and which belong to the period when a large 
portion of this country was a Roman pro- 
vince, there are many sepulchral urns which 
must have been deposited in the ground, 
either by the Roman population of this island, 
or by the British who adopted the Roman 
usages. Some of these urns are described by 
Sir Thomas Browne, and later discoveries of 
a similar kind have been made at different 
times. They have been found to contain, not 
only ashes mixed with half-burnt human 
bones, but the remains of combs, beads, and 



other articles of dress, and coins, both Roman 
and British. 

Burning the dead has fallen into disuse in 
many countries where it once prevailed, partly 
because of the expense fuel diminishing a 
population and agriculture increased and 
partly, perhaps, because the early Christians 
may have thought it less congruous than 
interment with the doctrine of the ResuiTec- 
tion. ' Christians,' says Sir Thomas Browne, 
in his usual quaint style, 'abhorred this way 
of obsequies, and, though they sticked not to 
give their bodies to be burned in their lives, 
detested that mode after death ; affecting 
rather a depositure than absumption, and 
properly submitting unto the sentence of 
God, to return not unto ashes but unto dust 
again, conformably unto the practice of the 
Patriarchs ; the interment of our Saviour, of 
Peter, Paul, and the ancient Martyrs.' In 
every age, and in every country where Chris- 
tianity has prevailed, the burial of the dead 
has been the unvarying usage. 

Evidence, however, of a desire for another 
remarkable revival of the practices of anti- 
quity now lies before us. It is no less than 
the prospectus of an association bearing the 
I'eceut date of January, 1850 "for Pro- 
moting the Practice of Decomposing the 
Dead by Fire.' Among other advantages, 
cheapness is promised. We may mention as 
some criterion on this point, that Mr. Ward, 
the Indian missionary, who had many oppor- 
tunities of ascertaining the fact, computed 
that the smallest quantity of wood necessary 
to consume a human body, is about three 
hundred weight. 

However averse public feeling may be 
to this mode of disposing of the remains 
of deceased relatives ; yet anything is better 
than crowded city churchyards and poisoned 
air. To these a favourable contrast is offered 
by even the curious expedients of savage life 
of which we now proceed to take a glance. 

The Parsees or Gabres the race of fire- 
worshippers who still exist in India, abhor 
the burning of the dead as a pollution of the 
Deity whom they adore. This feeling they 
appear to have inherited from the ancient 
worshippers of fire, the Chaldeans, and the 
Magi of Persia ; from whom, also, they seem 
to have derived the custom of exposing the 
bodies of the dead to be devoured by dogs, 
and beasts and birds of prey. A similar 
usage exists at this day in the kingdom of 
Tibet. ' According to the custom of Tibet,' 
says Mr. Turner (Narrative of an Embassy 
to Tibet), 'instead of that pious attention 
which is paid to the remains of the dead, in 
the preservation of their bodies from pollu- 
tion, by depositing them in the ground, they 
are here exposed after their decease, like the 
Parsees of India, in the open air, and left to 
be devoured by ravens, kites, and other car- 
nivorous birds. In the more populous parts, 
dogs also come in for their share of the prey, 
and regularly attend the consummation of the 



Cliarlea Dickens.] 



HEATHEN AND CHRISTIAN BUEIAL. 



47 



last obsequies.' The same practice anciently 
existed among the Colchians, and has been 
remarked by modern travellers among the 
Illinois of North America, and the savage 
! inhabitants of the Aleutian islands. Even 
in this revolting custom we trace a desire 
savagely indulged, it is true to ward off the 
bad effects of putrefaction by a speedy dis- 
posal of the air-polluting remains of the dead. 

Among the Caffres, Hottentots, and other 
savage tribes of Southern Africa, adjoining 
the European settlements, it seems to have 
been customary to expose aged and helpless 
people in desert places, and leave them to 
die, because of a superstition against any 
one expiring in a hut. Intercourse with 
civilisation is mitigating this and other 
barbarities. 

Of the means used to avert the evils of 
decay by preservation, none are more singular 
than those mentioned by Captain Tuckey, as 
in force 'upon the river Congo. The people 
envelope their corpses in cloth ; the smell of 
putrefaction being only kept in by the quan- 
tity of wrappers. These are successively mul- 
tiplied as they can be procured, or according 
to the rank of the deceased. The bulk thus 
attained is only limited by the power of con- 
veyance to the grave ; so that the first hut in 
which the body is deposited becoming too 
small, a second, a third even to a sixth 
each larger than the former, is placed over it. 

The South American savages run no risks 
from the putrefying remains of their dead. 
The Orinoco tribes fasten them by a rope to 
the trunk of a tree on the shore and sink the 
body in the river. In the course of four and 
twenty hours the skeleton is picked perfectly 
clean by the fish. Bones alone are reverenced 
in this part of the world. The inhabitants of 
the Pampas and other South American tribes 
bury only the bones of the dead, the flesh 
having been first removed from them : an 
operation performed by the women. While 
the work of dissection is going on, the men 
walk round the tent, covered with long 
mantles, singing a mournful tune, ani 
striking the ground with their spears, to 
drive away the evil spirits. The bones, being 
prepared, are packed up in a hide, and con- 
veyed on a favourite horse of the deceased to 
the family burial-place, sometimes hundreds 
of miles distant. Being disposed in their 
natural order and tied together so as to form 
a skeleton, they are clothed in the deceased's 
best attire, and ornamented with beads and 
feathers. The skeleton is placed in a sitting 
posture, with the carcases of horses, killed 
in order that their master may ride them in 
the next world hi a pit or grave, which is 
then covered over. Among all the customs of 
unenlightened mankind, there are few more 
remarkable than this provision for the material 
wants of the dead in another state of existence. 
In all ages, and in most parts of the world, 
the dead man has been sent to his long home, 
furnished with servants, horses, dogs, domestic 



utensils eveiy article of physical comfort and 
enjoyment he is supposed to require. Money 
has been supplied for his journey, and even 
(as among the Jukati of Siberia) food has 
been put into his coffin, 'that he may not 
hunger on his road to the dwelling of souls.' 
' As if,' quaintly remarks an ancient Spanish 
traveller, ' the infernal regions were a long 
way off.' But in eveiy instance the corpse has 
been so dealt with as to prevent injury to 
those who still exist. 

It is now time to allude to our own burial 
customs, and to the great reform which 
happily has at length begun. It appears 
extraordinary, that amidst the advance which 
has been made in social and sanitary science, 
Great Britain should be the last to give 
up the unwholesome custom of continuing 
the dead as near neighbours to the quick. 
The long conservation of this evil has mainly 
arisen from a sentiment of the superior 
sanctity of burial-places in and near to sacred 
edifices. That this is, however, an unqualified 
superstition, it is not difficult to prove, by 
tracing it to its root. Joseph Bingham states 
in his Origines Ecclesiasticce, that churchyards 
owe their origin to respect paid to the remains 
of saints and martyrs, which was shown first 
by building churches and chapels over them, 
and then by a general desire of people to be 
interred as near to their sacred dust as pos- 
sible. This privilege was only for a time 
accorded to Emperors and Kings, but so 
early as the sixth century the commonalty 
were allowed places, not only under the 
church wall, but in the consecrated space of 
ground surrounding it. Bodies were not 
deposited within the church till after a long 
struggle on the part of the heads of the 
Church* 

So far from burying in churches, corpses 
were not admitted into parish churches, even 
for the funeral service to be read over them, 
except under special circumstances. An in- 
teresting canon the 15th of the Council of 
Tribur runs thus, ' The funeral service must 
only be performed in the church where the 
bishop resides : that is to say in the cathedral 
of the diocese. If that church be too distant, 
it niay be celebrated in some other, where 
there is a community of canons, monks, or 
religious orders ; in order that the deceased 
may have the benefit of their prayers. Should 
again that be impossible, the service may be 
performed where the defunct during life paid 
tythes : this is in his parish church.' By a 
previous canon (one of the Council of Meaux) 
no burial fees could be exacted by the clergy, 
although the relations were allowed to give 
alms to the poor. This injunction was but 
little observed either at or after the time it 
was laid, in 845. 

The unwholesome practice of intra-eccle- 

* Several canons were issued against this now universal 
abuse. Among others, the 18th of the Council of Bragne 
(Portugal) in 563. The 72nd of the Council of Meaux (846), 
the 17th of the Council of Tribur, 895, &c. 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



siastical interment became general after the 
10th century, when the clergy succumbed to 
the power of money, and the sale of the 
indulgence proved too profitable to be aban- 
doned. To show by what frauds the un- 
healthy custom was kept up, we. may cite a 
legend relating to St. Dunstan. An unbaptised 
son of Earl Harold having been deposited 
within the church where tin- deceased saint 
rented, St. Dunstan so the fable runs 
appeared twice to the chaplain to complain 
that he could not rest iu his grave for the 
stench of the young Pagan. Other under- 
ground saints were, however, consulted on 
the matter, and they silenced St. Dunstan 
by acquiescing in the abuse. It therefore 
not only continued but gave rise to another 
evil. Tombs came to be erected, and these 
became convenient as lurking-places and 
rendezvous for various immoral and im- 
proper purposes. The Council of Winchester, 
in 1240, forbade the holding of markets, 
gaming and other iniquities performed among 
the tombs in churches and cemeteries. But 
this injunction was of little avail, as we learn 
from the History of St. Paul's. Duke Hum- 
phrey's Tomb in ' Paul's walk ' (the middle 
aisle of the Cathedral), was the occasional 
resort for ages of the idleness and infamy of 
London. It was a regular mart and meeting 
place for huxters, gossips, gamblers, and 
thieves. In 1554 the Lord Mayor prohibited 
the church to be used for such 'irreverent' 
purposes, under pain of fine. Still it AVOS not 
till the great fire that Duke Humphrey's tomb 
was utterly deserted. 

Meanwhile in every part of the country, 
families who could afford the expense, were 
buried inside in preference to outside the 
various places of worship, and, until the 
present year, no effective stop has been put 
to the evil. Our French neighbours were 
before us in this respect. Inhumation inside 
churches was fox-bidden except in rare cases, 
by a royal ordinance dated Versailles, lOfch 
March, 1777. We perceive by the exce'lent 
report of Dr. Sutherland to the Board 01 
Health on the practice of interments in 
Germany and France, that cemeteries have 
been since substituted by law in almost 
every considerable town in those countries. 
It has therefore been continued, almost ex- 
clusively in this empire. 

At last, however, we have good reason to 
hope that intramural burials, with all their 
attendant evils, will speedily be themselves 
buried with the barbarous relics of the past. 
The comprehensive suggestions of the Board 
of Health appear to meet every difficulty, and 
as a strong stream of common sense has, we 
hope and believe, set in in favour of funereal 
reform, we trust they will pass into the statute 
book without much opposition ; some they 
will inevitably encounter, in compliance with 
the fixed law of English obstinacy. 

It may console those in whom lingers, from 
old association, almost a religious prejudice in 



favour of churchyards, to be reminded that 
some of the most eminent Christians, both lay 
and clerical, have earnestly pleaded for extra - 
mural cemeteries. Evelyn the model of a 
Christian gentleman regretted that after 
the Fire of London advantage had not been 
taken of that calamity to rid the city of its 
burial-places, and establish a necropolis with- 
out the walls. ' I yet cannot but deplore,' says 
he, in his ' Silva,' ' that when that spacious 
area was so long a rasa tabula^ the church- 
yards had not been banished to the north 
walls of the city, where a grated inclosure of 
competent breadth for a mile in length, might 
have served for an universal cemetery to all 
the parishes, distinguished by the like separa- 
tions, and with ample walks of trees, the 
walks adorned with monuments, inscriptions, 
and titles, apt for contemplation and memory 
of the defunct, and that wise and excellent 
law of the Twelve Tables renewed.' The 
pious Sir Thomas Browne says quaintly in 
his ' Hydriotaphia,' ' To live indeed is to be 
again ourselves ; which being not only a hope 
but an evidence in noble believers, 'tis all one 
to lie in St. Innocent's Churchyard, as in the 
sands of Egypt, ready to be anything in the 
ecstasy of being ever, and as content with six 
foot as the moles of Adrianus.' 

Would it not then be well to reflect, in the 
year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred 
and fifty, whether any of the best customs, 
whether the very worst custom conside 
the state of society in which it has obtained 
is so degrading as that of burying the 
dead in the midst of the living, to generate 
an amount of human destruction, compared 
with which the slaughter attendant on an 
African funeral is as a drop of water in 
an ocean. It should be remembered that, in 
the barbarous customs we have cited there is 
always to be traced the perversion of an 
idea ; as that the dead man will want food, 
passage money, attendants, beasts of burden, 
something that benighted ignorance is unable 
to separate from the wants incidental to this 
earthly state. There is no such poor excuse 
for the custom into which this civilised age 
has insensibly lapsed, until its evils have be- 
come too great to bear. The affection which 
endures beyond the grave is surely more iitly 
associated with a tomb in a beautiful solitude 
than amidst the clamour and clatter of a city's 
streets. If, in submission to that moral law 
of gravitation, which renders it difficult to 
separate our thoughts of those who have de- 
parted from some lingering association with 
this earth, we desire to find a resting-place 
for our dead which we can visit, and where 
we may hope to lie when our own time shall 
come, reason and imagination alike suggest 
its being in a spot serenely sacred to that 
last repose of so much of us as is mortal, 
where natural decay may claim kindred with 
nature, in her beautiful succession of decay 
and renovation, undisturbed by the strife of 
the brief scene that has closed. 



M the Ofllcc, No 18. Weiimirtoo Street North. Strand. Printed by U 



"Familiar in their Mouths as HOUSEHOLD WORDS." SHAKES? 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS 

A WEEKLY JOURNAL. 
CONDUCTED BY CHARLES 'DICKENS. 



3.] 



SATURDAY, APEIL 13, 1850. 



[PRICE Id. 



THE HOUSEHOLD NAEEATIVE. 



WE take this opportunity of announcing a 
design, closely associated with, our House- 
hold Words, which we have now matured, 
and which we hope will be acceptable to our 
readers. 

We purpose publishing, at the end of each 
month as a supplementary number to the 
monthly part of Household Words, a com- 
prehensive Abstract or History of all the 
occurrences of that month, native and foreign, 
under the title of THE HOUSEHOLD NARRATIVE 
OF CURRENT EVENTS. 

The size and price of each of these numbers 
will be the same as the size and price of 
the present number of Household Words. 
Twelve numbers will necessarily be published 
in the course of the year one for each month 
and on the completion of the Annual 
Volume, a copious Index will appear, and a 
title-page for the volume ; which will then be 
called THE HOUSEHOLD NARRATIVE of such a 
year. It will form a complete Chronicle of 
all that year's events, carefully compiled, 
thoroughly digested, and systematically ar- 
ranged for easy reference ; presenting a vast 
mass of information that must be interesting 
to all, at a price that will render it accessible 
to the humblest purchasers of books, and at 
which only our existing machinery in con- 
nexion with this Work would enable us to 
produce it. 

The first number of THE HOUSEHOLD NAR- 
RATIVE will appear as a supplement to the 
first monthly part of Household Words, 
published at the end of the present month of 
APRIL. As the Volume for 1850 would be 
incomplete (in consequence of our not having 
commenced this publication at the beginning 
of a year) without a backward reference to 
the three months of JANUARY, FEBRUARY, 
and MARCH, a similar number of THE 
HOUSEHOLD NARRATIVE for each of those 
months will be published before the year 
is out. 

It is scarcely necessary to explain that it is 
not proposed to render the purchase of THE 
HOUSEHOLD NARRATIVE compulsory on the 
purchasers of Household Words ; and that 
the supplementary number, though always 
published at the same time as our monthly 



part, will therefore be detached from it, and 
published separately. 

Nor is it necessary for us, we believe, to 
expatiate on our leading reasons for adding 
this new undertaking to our present enter- 
prise. The intimate connexion between the 
facts and realities of the tune, and the means 
by which we aim, in Household Words, to 
soften what is hard in them, to exalt what is 
held in little consideration, and to show the 
latent hope there is in what may seem un- 
promising, needs not to be pointed out. All 
that we sought to express in our Preliminary 
Word, in reference to this work, applies, we 
think, to its proposed companion. As another 
humble means of enabling those who accept 
us for their friend, to bear the world's rough- 
cast events to the anvil of courageous duty, 
and there beat them into shape, we enter 
on the project, and confide in its success. 



THE TEOUBLED WATEE QUESTION. 

MY excellent and eloquent friend, Lyttleton, 
of Pump Court, Temple, barrister-at-law, dis- 
turbed me on a damp morning at the end of 
last month, to bespeak my company to a meet- 
ing at which he intended to hold forth. ' It 
is,' he said, 'the Great Water Supply Con- 
gress, which assembles to-morrow.' 

' Do you know anything of the subject 1 ' 

' A vast deal both practically and theoret- 
ically. Practically, I pay for my little box in 
the Eegent's Park, twice the price for water 
our friend Fielding is charged, and both sup- 
plies are derived from the same Company. 
Yet his is a mansion, mine is a cottage ; his 
rent more than doubles mine in amount, and 
his family trebles mine in number. So much 
for the consistency and exactions of an irre- 
sponsible monopoly. Practically, again, there 
are occasions when my cisterns are without 
water. So much for deficient supply.' 

' Is your water bad V 

' Not absolutely unwholesome ; but I have 
drunk better.' 

' Now then, Theoretically.' 

' Theoretically, I learn from piles of blue 
books a regular blue mountain of parlia- 
mentary inquiry instituted in the years 1810, 
1821, 1827, 1828, 1834, 1840, and 1845 from 
a cloud of prospectuses issued by embryo 



VOL. I. 



60 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



U'ater Companies, from a host of pamphlets 
pro and con, and from the reports of tin- 
J'.oavd of Health, that of the ;)(.)( >,<>(>( > In 
of which London is said to consist, 7<M><''<> 
are without the great element of suction 
and cleanliness ; I find also that the supply, 
such as it is, is derived from nine water com- 
panies all linked together to form a giant 
monopoly ; and that, in consequence, the 
charge for water is in some inst.-uiccs exces- 
sive ; that six of these companies draw their 
water from the filthy Thames ; and the same 
number, including those which use the Lea 
and New Eiver water, have no system of 
filtration hence it is unwholesome : that in 
short, the public of the metropolis are the 
victims of dear, insufficient and dirty water. 
Like Tantalus of old they are denied much 
of the great element of life, although it flows 
within reach of their parched and thirsty lips. 
And by whom 1 By that majjy-headed Cer- 
berus that nine gentlemen in one the great 
monopolist Water Company combination of 
London ! Unless, therefore, we bestir our- 
selves in the great cause for which this 
numerous, enlightened, and respectable meet- 
ing have assembled here this day ' 

' You forget ; you have only two listeners at 
present myself and my spaniel. I can sug- 
gest a more profitable morning's amusement 
than a rehearsal of your speech.' 

'What?' 

'Your theoretical knowledge is, I doubt 
not, very comprehensive and varied. But 
second-hand information is not to be trusted 
too implicitly. Every statement of fact, like 
every story, gains something in exaggera- 
tion, or loses something in accuracy by repe- 
tition from book to book, or from book to 
mouth.' 

' Granted ; but what do you suggest ?' 

'Ocular demonstration. Let us at once 
visit and minutely inspect the works of one of 
the Companies. I am sure they will let us in 
at the Grand Junction, for I have already 
been over their premises.' 

' A capital notion ! Agreed.' 

The preliminaries consisting of the hasty 
'bundling up of Mr. Lyttleton's notes for the 
morrow's oration, and the hire of a Hansom 
cab were adjusted in a few minutes. 

The order to drive to Kew Bridge, was 
obeyed in capital style ; for in three-quarters 
of an hour we were deposited on the towing 
path on the Surrey side of the Thames, opposite 
the Kong of Hanover's house, and a quarter 
of a mile west of Kew Bridge. 

'Here,' I explained 'is the spot whence 
the Grand Junction Company derive their 
water. In the bed of the river is an enormous 
culvert pipe laid parallel to this path. Its 
mouth open towards Richmond is barred 
across with a grating, to intercept stray fish, 
murdered kittens, or vegetable impurities, and 
except now and then the intrusion edgeways 
of a small flounder, or the occasional slip of 
an erratic eel it admits nothing into the pipe 



but what is more or less fluid. The culvert 
then takes a bend round the edge of the islet 
opposite to us ; burrows beneath the Brent- 
ford road, and delivers its contents into a well 
under that tall chimney and taller iron "stand- 
pipe " which you see on the other side of the 
river. 3 

' And is this the stuff I have to pay four 
pounds ten a year for ? ' exclaimed Mr. Lyt- 
tleton, contemplating the opaque fluid; part 
of which was then making its way into the 
cisterns of Her Majesty's lieges. 

' Certainly ; but it is purified first. We 
will now cross the bridge to the Works.' 

Those of my readers who make prandial 
expeditious to Richmond, must have noticed 
at the beginning of Old Brentford, a little 
beyond where they turn over Kew Bridge, 
an immensely tall thin column that shoots 
up into the air like an iron mast unable 
to support itself, and seems to require 
four smaller, thinner, and not much shorter 
props to keep it upright. This, with the 
engine and engine-houses, is all they can see of 
the Grand Junction Waterworks from the 
road. It is only when one gets inside, that 
the whole extent of the aquatic apparatus is 
revealed. 

Determined to follow the water from the 
Thames till it began its travels to London, 
we entered the edifice, went straight to the 
well, and called for a glass of water. Our 
hosts who had received our visit without 
hesitation supplied us. ' That,' remarked 
one of them, as he held the half-filled tumbler 
up to the light, ' is precisely the state of the 
water as emptied from the Thames into the 
well.' 

It looked like a dose of weak magnesia, 
or that peculiar London liquid known as 
'skim-sky-blue,' but deceitfully sold under 
the name of milk. 

'The analysis of Professor Brande,' said 
Lyttleton, ' gives to every gallon of Thames 
water taken from Kew Bridge, 19'2 parts of 
solid matter ; but the water, I apprehend, in 
which he experimented must have been taken 
from the river on a serener occasion than this. 
To-day's rain appears to have drained away 
the chalk so as to give in this specimen a 
much larger proportion of solids to fluids than 
his estimate.' 

' In this impure state,' one of the engineers 
told us, ' the water is pumped by steam power 
into the reservoirs to which you will please 
to follow me.' 

Passing out of the building and climbing a 
sloping bank, we now saw before us an 
expanse of water covering 3 acres ; but 
divided into two sections. Info the larger, 
the pump first delivers the water, that so 
much of the impurity as will form sediment 
may be precipitated. It then slowly glides 
through a small opening into the lesser 
section, which is a huge filter. 

' The impurities of water,' said the bar- 
rister, assuming an oratorical attitude, to give 



Charles Dickens.j 



THE TEOTJBLED WATER QUESTION. 



51 



us a taste of his ' reading up,' ' are of two 
kinds ; first, such as are mechanically sus- 
pended say earth, chalk, sand, clay, dead 
vegetation or decomposed cats ; and secondly, 
such as are dissolved or chemically combined 
like salt, sugar, or alkali. Separation in the 
one case is easy, in the other it involVes a 
chemical process. If you throw a pinch of 
sand into a tumbler of water, and stir it 
about, you produce a turbid mixture ; but to 
render the fluid clear again you have only to 
adopt the simple process of letting it alone ; 
for on setting the tumbler down for awhile, the 
particles which, from their extreme minute- 
ness, were easily disturbed and distributed 
amidst the fluid being heavier than water, 
are precipitated, or in other words, fall to the 
bottom, leaving the liquid translucent. This 
is what is happening in the larger section of 
the reservoir to the chalky water of which 
we drank. I think I am correct 1 ' asked the 
speaker, angling for a single ' cheer ' from the 
Engineer. 

' Quite so,' replied that gentleman. 

'Provided the water could remain at rest 
long enough which the insatiable maw of the 
modern Babylon does not allow,' continued 
the honourable orator, rehearsing a bit more 
of his speech, ' this mode of cleansing would 
be perfectly .effectual. In proof of which 
I may only allude to Nature's mode of de- 
puration, as shown in lakes that of Geneva 
for instance. The waters of the Bhone enter 
that expansive reservoir from the Valais in a 
very muddy condition ; yet, after reposing in 
the lake, they issue at Geneva as clear as 
crystal. But so incessant is the London 
demand, that scarcely any time can be afforded 
for the impurities of the Thames, the Lea, or 
the New Biver to separate themselves from 
the water by mere deposition.' 

' True,' interjected one of the superin- 
tendants. 'It is for that reason that our 
water is passed afterwards into the filtering 
bed, which is four feet thick.' 

' How do you ma'ke up this enormous bed ?' 

' The water rests upon, and permeates 
through, 1st, a surface of fine sand ; 2d, a 
stratum of shells ; 3d, a layer of garden 
gravel ; and 4th, a base of coarse gravel. It 
thence falls through a number of ducts into 
cisterns, whence it is pumped up so as to 
commence its travels to town through the 
conduit pipe.' 

We were returning to' the engine-house, 
when Lyttleton asked the Engineer, 'Does 
your experience generally, enable you to say 
that water as supplied by the nine companies, 
is tolerably pure ? ' 

' Upon the whole, yes,' was the answer. 

' Indeed ! ' ejaculated the orator, sharply. 
' If that be true,' he whispered to me, in a 
rueful tone, ' I shall be cut out of one of the 
best points in my speech.' 

' Of course,' continued the Engineer, 'purity 
entirely depends upon the source, and the 
means of cleansing.' 



'Then, as to the source how many com- 
panies take their supplies from the Thames, 
near to, and after it has received the contents . 
of, the common sewers 1 ' 

' No water is taken from the Thames below 
Chelsea, except that of the Lambeth Com- 
pany, which is suppliedfrom between Waterloo 
and Hungerford Bridges ; an objectionable 
source, which they have obtained an act to 
change to Thames Ditton. The Chelsea 
Waterworks have a most efficient system of 
filtration ; as also have the Southwark and 
Vauxhall Company ; both draw their water 
from between the Bed House, Battersea, and 
Chelsea Hospital. The other companies do 
not filter. The West Middlesex sucks up 
some of Father Thames as he passes Barnes 
Terrace. Except the lowest of these sources, 
Thames water is nearly as pure as that of 
other rivers.' 

' Perhaps it is,' was the answer ; ' but the 
unwholesomeness arises from contaminations 
received during its course ; we don't object to 
the " Thames," but to its " tributaries," such as 
the black contents of common sewers, and the 
refuse of gut, glue, soap, and other nauseous 
manufactures ; to say nothing of animal and 
vegetable offal, of which the river is the sole 
receptacle. Brande shows that, while the 
solid matter contained in the river at Ted- 
dington is 17'4, that which the water has 
contracted when it flows past Westminster 
is 24-4, and the City of London, 28'0.' 

' But,' said the Engineer, ' these adultera- 
tions are only mechanically suspended in the 
fluid, and are, as you shall see presently, 
totally separated from it by our mode of 
filtration.' 

'Which brings iis to your second point, 
as to efficient cleansing ; you admit that 
without filtration this is impossible, and also 
that only three companies filter ; the deduc- 
tion, therefore, is that two-thirds of the 
water supplied to Londoners is insufficiently 
cleansed. This indeed, is not a mere in- 
ference ; we know it for a fact, we see it in 
our ewers, we taste it out of our caraffes.' 

' But this does not wholly arise from the 
inefficient filtration of the six companies,' 
returned an officer of this Company, ' the 
public is much to blame though, when 
agitating against an abuse, it never thinks of 
blaming itself. Half the dirt, dust, and 
animalculse found at table are introduced 
after the water has been delivered to the 
houses. Impurity of all sorts finds its way 
into out-door cisterns, even when covered, 
and few of them, open or closed, are often 
enough cleansed. In some neighbourhoods 
water-butts are always uncovered, and hardly 
ever cleaned out. The water is foul, and the 
companies are blamed.' 

' The blame belongs to the system,' said the 
barrister. ' Domestic reservoirs are not only 
an evil but an unnecessary expense. Besides 
filth, they cause waste and deficient supply: 
they should be abolished ;' for continuous 



52 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



supply is the real remedy. Let the pipes 
be always full, and the water would be 
always ivady, always tivsh, and could never 
acquire new impurities. Still, despite all you 
say, I am bound to conclude that idthough 
one-third of the water may arrive in the 
domestic cisterns of the metropolis in a pel- 
lucid state, the other two-thirds does not.' 
Mr. L. then inscribed tliis calculation in his 
note book, wliispering to me that his pet 
' dirty water point ' would come out even 
stronger than he had expected. 

We had now returned to one of the engine- 
rooms. 

' You have tasted the water before, I now 
present you with some of it after, filtration,' 
said the chief engineer, handing us a tumbler. 
'This is exactly the condition in which we 
deliver it to our customers.' 

It was clear to the eye, and to the taste 
innocuous ; but Lyttleton (who I should men- 
tion, occasionally turns on powerful streams 
of oratory at Temperance meetings, and is a 
judge of the article,) complained that the 
liquid wanted ' flavour.' 

'In other words, then it wants impurity,' 
replied one of our cicerones with alacrity, ' for 
perfectly pure water is quite tasteless. In- 
deed, water may be too pure. Distilled water 
which contains no salt, is insipid, and tends 
to indigestion. It is a wise provision of 
Nature, that waters should contain a greater 
or less quantity of foreign ingredients ; for 
without these water is dangerous to drink. 
It never fails to take up from the atmos- 
phere a certain proportion of carbonic acid 
gas, and when passing through lead pipes it 
imbibes enough carbonate of lead to constitute 
poison. Dr. Christison mentions several severe 
cases of lead (or painter's) cholic, which 
arose chiefly in country houses to which water 
was supplied from springs through lead pipes. 
The most remarkable case was that at Clare- 
inont, where the ex-king of the French and 
several members of his family were nearly 
poisoned by pure spring water conveyed to 
the mansion through lead pipes. 

' Mercy ! ' I exclaimed, with all the energy 
of despair that a mere water-drinker is 
capable of, ' if river water be unwholesome, 
and pure water poison, what is to become of 
every temperance pledgee ? ' 

The Engineer relieved me : ' All the Che- 
mists,' he stated, 'haveagreed that awater con- 
taining from eight to ten grains of sulphate of 
magnesia or soda, to the imperial gallon, 
is best suited for alimentary, lavatory, and 
other domestic purposes.' 

We were now introduced to the great 
engine. What a monster ! Imagine an 
enormous see-saw, with a steam engine at 
one end, and a pump at the other. Fancy 
this ' beam,' some ten yards long, and twenty- 
eight tons in weight, moving on a pivot in the 
middle, the ends of which show a circumfer- 
ence greater than the crown of the biggest 
hat ever worn. See, with what earnest 



deliberation the ' see,' or engine, pulls up 
the ' saw,' or balance-box of the pump, which 
then comes down upon the water-trap with 
the ferocious tiplomb of 49 tons, sending 400 
gallons of water in one tremendous squirt 
nearly the twentieth part of a mile high ; 
that is to the top of the stand-pipe. 

' We have a smaller engine which " does " 
150 gallons per stroke,' remarked our in- 
formant : ' each performs 11 strokes, and 
forces up 4400 gallons of water per minute, 
and thus our average delivery per diem 
throughout the year is from 4,000,000, to 
5,000,000 gallons.' 

' What proportion of London do you 
supply 1 ' asked Mr. Lyttleton. 

' The quadrangle included between Oxford 
Street, Wardour Street, Pall-Mali, and Hyde 
Park ; besides the whole of Notting-ldll, 
Bayswater, and Paddington. We serve 14,058 
houses, to each of which we supply 225 gal- 
lons per day, or, taking the average number 
of persons per house at nine, 25 gallons a head ; 
besides public services, such as baths, water- 
ing streets, or manufactories ; making our 
total daily delivery at the rate of 252 gallons 
per house. This delivery is performed through. 
80 miles of service pipes, whose diameter varies 
from 3 to 30 inches.' 

' Now,' said my companion, sharpening his 
pencil, 'to go into the question of supply.' 
He then unfolded his pocket soufflet, and 
brought out a calculation, of quantities derived, 
he said, from parliamentary returns and other 
authorities more or less reliable : 



New River Company . 
Chelsea Company . 
"West Middlesex Company . 
Grand Junction Company 
East London Company 
South Lambeth Company 
South London Company 

Southwark Company 
Hampstead Company . 
Kent Company . 



Artesian Wells . 

Land-spring Pumps 

" Catcli " rain water (say) 



and"! 



Gals, daily. 

20,000,000 
3,250,000 
3,650,000 
3,500,000 
7,000,000 
2,500,000 



3,000,000 

400,000 
1,200,000 



44,500,000 
8,000,000 
3,000,000 
1,000,000 



Making a total quantity supplied ~| 

daily to London, from all \ 56,500,000 
sources, of . . . . J 

'An abundant supply,' said an engineer 
eagerly, ' for as the present population of the 
metropolis is estimated at 2,330,000, the total 
affords about 24 gallons of water per day, for 
every man, woman, and child.' 

'Admitted,' rejoined Lyttleton; 'but we 
have to deal with large deductions; first, nearly 
half this quantity runs to waste, chiefly in 
consequence of the intermittent system. I live 
in a small house with proportionately small 
cisterns, which are filled no more than three 
times a week ; now, as my neighbours have 



CUarles Dickens.] 



THE TROUBLED WATER QUESTION. 



53 



larger houses and larger reservoirs,, the water 
when turned on runs for as long a time into my 
small, as it does into their capacious cisterns, 
and consequently, if my stop-taps be in the 
least out of order, a greater quantity descends 
the waste pipe than remains behind. This is 
universally the case in similar circumstances.' 

' We supply water daily, Sundays excepted,' 
remarked the Engineer. 

' Then you are wiser than your neighbours. 
But every inconvenience and nearly all the 
waste, would be saved by the adoption of the 
continuous system of supply. Secondly, a 
large quantity of water is consumed by 
cattle, breweries, baths, public institutions, 
for putting out fires, and for laying dust. 
The lieges of London have only, therefore, to 
divide between them some 10 gallons of water 
each per day ; and, as it is generally admitted 
that a sixth part of their habitations are 
without water at all, the division must be 
most unequally made. That such is the fact 
is shown by your own figures your customers 
get 25 gallons each per day, or more than 
double their share. For this excess, some in 
poorer districts get none at all.' 

'That is no fault of the existing companies. 
As sellers of an article, they are but too happy 
to get as many customers for it as possible ; 
but poor tenants cannot, and their landlords 
will not, afford the expense. If the com- 
panies were to make the outlay necessary to 
connect the houses with their mains, they 
would have no legal power to recover the 
money so expended nor indeed is it clear, 
that were they inclined to run the risk, the 
parties would avail themselves of it. In one 
instance, the Southwark and Vauxhall Com- 
pany offered to construct a tank which would 
give continuous supply to a block of 100 small 
nouses, at the rate of 50 gallons per diem to 
each if the proprietor would pay an ad- 
ditional rate sufficient to yield 5 per cent, on 
the outlay, such additional rate not exceeding 
one half-penny per week for each house, but 
the offer was declined.' 

' That is an extreme case of cheapness on 
the one side, and of stupidity on the other,' 
said the barrister. ' Other landlords will not 
turn on water for their tenants, because of 
the expense ; not only of the " plant," in the 
first instance, but of the after water-rent. 
I find, by the account rendered to the House 
of Commons in 1834, that the South London 
Company (since incorporated with the 
Southwark, as the "Southwark and Vaux- 
liall," the very Company you mention,) 
charged considerably less than any other. 
The return shows that while they obtained 
only 15s. per 1000 hogsheads ; the West Mid- 
dlesex (the highest) exacted 48s., 6d. for the 
same quantity ; consequently, had the houses 
of the foolish landlord who refused one half- 
penny per week for water, stood in north- 
western instead of southern London, he would 
have had to pay more than treble, or a fraction 
above three half-pence per week.' 



'Allowing for difference of level,' I re- 
marked, 'and other interferences with the 
cheap delivery of water ; the disparity in the 
charges of the different companies, and even 
by the same company to different customers, 
is unaccountable : they are guided by no 
principle. You have mentioned the extreme 
points of the scale of rates ; the remaining 
companies charged at the time you mention, 
respectively per 1000 hogsheads, 17s., 17s 2d., 
21s., 28s., 29s., and 45s. The only companies 
whose charges are limited by act of par- 
liament are the Grand Junction, the East 
London, the Southwark and Vauxhall, and 
the Lambeth. The others exact precisely 
what they please.' 

' And,' interposed Lyttleton, ' there is no 
redress : the only appeal we, the taxed, have, 
is to our taxers, and the monopoly is so tight 
that as is my case although your next door 
neighbour is supplied from a cheaper com- 
pany, you are not allowed to change.' 

' The companies were obliged to combine, to 
save themselves from ruin and the public from 
extreme inconvenience,' said our informant ; 
' during the competition streets were torn 
up, traffic was stopped, and confusion waa 
worse confounded in the districts where the 
opposition raged.' 

' But what happened when the war ceased, 
and the general peace was concluded ? ' said 
Lyttleton, chuckling. ' To show how ill some 
of the companies manage their affairs, I could 
cite some laughable cases. When the com- 
bination commenced, some of them forgot to 
stop off their mains, and supplied water to 
customers whom they had previously turned 
over to their quondam rivals ; so that one com- 
pany gave the water, and the other pocketed 
the rent. This, in some instances, went on 
for years.' 

Here the subject branched off into other 
topics. It is worthy of notice that the con- 
versation was carried on by the side of the 
enormous Cornish engine, that was driving 
4400 gallons per minute 218 feet high. 

' It is marvellous,' I remarked, ' that so 
much power can be exercised with so little 
noise and vibration.' 

' That 's owing to the patent valves in the 
pump,' said the stoker. 

Taking a last look at the monster, we went 
outside to view the stand-pipe. Being, we 
were told, 218 feet high, it tops the Monument 
in Fish Street-hill by 16 feet. Within it is 
performed the last stroke of hydraulic art 
which is needed ; for nature does the rest. The 
water, sent up through the middle or thickest 
of the tubes, falls over into the open mouths 
of the smaller ones (which most people mis- 
take for supports) descends through all four 
at once into the conduit-pipe, and travels of its 
own accord leisurely to London. In obedience 
to the law of levels, it rises without further 
trouble to the tops of the tallest houses on 
the highest spots in the Company's district. In 
its way it fills a large reservoir on Camden-hilL 



54 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



The iron conduit-pipe ends ;it Poland-street, 
Oxford-street, and is 7 miles long-. 

Our inspection was now terminated. "We 
took a parting glass of water with our intel- 
ligent and communicative hosts, and returned 
to town. 

I lirmly believe that the success of Lyttle- 
tou's speech at the great meeting next day, 
was very much owing to this visit. The 
room was crowded in every part. His tone 
was moderate. He avoided the extravagant 
exaggerations of the more fiery order of water 
spouters. Neither was he too tame ; he was 
not as Moore said of a tory orator like an 

' awkward thing of wood 

Which up and down its clumsy arm doth move ; 
And only spout, and spout, and spout away, 
In ono weak, washy, everlasting flood,' 

but he came out capitally in the hard, .ar- 
gumentative style. His oration bristled with 
logic and statistics to a degree of which I 
cannot pretend to give the faintest notion. 

Sipping inspiration out of a tumbler filled 
with the flowing subject of discussion, Mr. 
Lyttleton commenced by declaring his con- 
viction that the water supplied to the metro- 
polis was, generally speaking, bad in quality, 
extravagantly dear, and, from excessive waste, 
deficient in quantity. In order to remedy 
those defects an efficient control was essential. 
Continuous supply, filtration, and a uniform 
scale of rates must be enforced. Some of 
the companies were pocketing enormous divi- 
dends, and was it a fair argument to retort, 
that they are now being reimbursed for 
periods of no dividend at all 1 Are we of 
the present day to be mulcted to cover losses 
occasioned because the early career of some of 
these companies was marked by the ignorance, 
imprudence, and reckless extravagance, which 
he (Mr. Lyttleton) could prove it was? If 
our wine merchant, or coal merchant, or 
baker, began business badly and with loss, 
would he be tolerated, if, when he grew wiser 
and more prosperous, he tried to exact large 
prices to cover the consequences of his previous 
mismanagement ] Mr. Lyttleton apprehended 
not. With this branch of the question he 
proceeded to remark the important subjects 
of distribution and supply were intimately 
connected. It had been ascertained that a 
vast proportion of the poor had no water in 
their houses. Why? Partly because it was 
too dear ; but partly he (the learned speaker) 
was bound to say from the parsimony of 
landlords. He had pointed out a remedy 
for the first evil ; for the second he would 
propose that every house owner should be 
bound to introduce pipes into every house. 
The law was stringent on him as to sewers ami 
party-walls, and why should not a water sup- 
ply be enforced on him also ? In dealing with 
the whole question of supply the ho 1 
able gentleman went on to say, he could 
not agree with those who stated that the de- 
livery of it was deficient. A moderate calcu- 



lation estimated the quantity running through 
the underground net-work of London pipes 
at 56,000,000 of gallons per day. Waste (of 
which there is a prodigious amount), str: 
engines, cattle, public baths and other sup- 
plies deducted, left more than 10 gallons 
diem per head for the whole population, tnat 
is supposing these gallons were equitably dis- 
tributed ; but they are not, the rich get an 
excess, and the poor get none at all. He (the 
learned barrister) was not prepared to say 
that 10 or 20 gallons per head daily were 
sufficient for alt the purposes of life in this 
or in any other city, great or small ; but 
this he would say, that under proper manage- 
ment the existing supply might be made 
ample for present wants ; whether for the 
requirements of augmenting population and 
increased cleanliness we need not discuss 
now. What was wanted at this time was a 
better distribution rather than a greater sup- 
ply ; but what was wanted most of all 
united action and one governing body. With- 
out this, confusion, extravagance, and waste, 
would inevitably continue. 

Mr. Lyttleton wound up with a pero- 
ration that elicited very general applause. 
' Although we must,' he said, ' establish an 
efficient control over the existing means 
of water supply, we must neither wholly 
despise nor neglect them, nor blindly rush, 
into new and ruinous schemes. We must 
remove the onus of payment from the poorer 
tenants to their landlords, and into what- 
ever central directing power the Water- 
works of this great city shall pass,' concluded 
the learned orator, with energetic unction, ' our 
motto must be ' " continuous supply, uniform 
rates, and universal filtration ! " ' 



ILLUSTRATIONS OF CHEAPNESS. 



THE LUCIFER MATCH. 

SOME twenty years ago the process of ob- 
taining fire, in every house in England, with 
few exceptions, was as rude, as laborious, and 
as uncertain, as the effort of the Indian to 
produce a flame by the friction of two dry 
sticks. 

The nightlainp and the rushlight were 
for the comparatively luxurious. In the bed- 
rooms of the cottager, the' artisan, and the 
small tradesman, the infant at its mother's 
side too often awoke, like Milton's nightin- 
gale, 'darkling,' but that 'n&ctumal note' 
was something different from 'harmonious 
numbers.' The mother was soon on her 
feet ; the friendly tinder-box was duly sought. 
Click, click, click ; not a spark tells upon the 
sullen blackness. More rapidly does the flint 
ply the sympathetic steel. The room is 
bright with the radiant shower. But the 
child, familiar enough with the operation, is 
impatient at its tediousness, and shouts till 
the mother is frantic. At length one lucky 
spark does its office the tinder is alight. 



Charles Dickens.] 



ILLUSTEATIONS OF CHEAPNESS. 



55 



Now for the match. It will not bum. A 
gentle breath is wafted into the murky box ; 
the face that leans over the tinder is in a glow. 
Another match, and another, and another. 
They are all damp. The toil-worn father 
' swears a prayer or two ' ; the baby is inex- 
orable ; and the misery is only ended when the 
goodman has gone to the street door, and 
after long shivering has obtained a light from 
the wvitchman. 

In this, the beginning of our series of Illus- 
trations of Cheapness, let us trace this antique 
machinery through the various stages of its 
production. 

The tinder-box and the steel had nothing 
peculiar. The tinman made the one as he 
made the saucepan, with hammer and sheaz*s ; 
the other was forged at the great metal 
factories of Sheffield and Birmingham ; and 
happy was it for the purchaser if it were some- 
thing better than a rude piece of iron, very un- 
comfortable to grasp. The nearest chalk quarry 
supplied the flint. The domestic manufac- 
ture of the tinder was a serious affair. At due 
seasons, and very often if the premises were 
damp, a stifling smell rose from the kitchen, 
which, to those who were not intimate with 
the process, suggested doubts whether the 
house were not on fire. The best linen rag 
was periodically burnt, and its ashes deposited 
in the tinman's box, pressed down with a 
close fitting lid upon which the flint and 
steel reposed. The match was chiefly an 
article of itinerant traffic. The chandler's 
shop was almost ashamed of it. The mendi- 
cant was the universal match-seller. The girl 
who led the blind beggar had invariably a 
basket of matches. In, the day they were 
vendors of matches in the evening manufac- 
turers. On the floor of the hovel sit two or 
three squalid children, splitting deal with a 
common knife. The matron is watching a 
pipkin upon a slow fire. The fumes which it 
gives forth are blinding as the brimstone is 
liquifying. Little bundles of split deal are 
ready to be dipped, three or four at a time. 
When the pennyworth of brimstone is used 
up, when the capital is exhausted, the night's 
labour is over. In the summer, the manufac- 
ture is suspended, or conducted upon fraudu- 
lent principles. Fire is then needless ; so 
delusive matches must be produced wet 
splints dipped in powdered sulphur. They 
will never burn, but they will do to sell to 
the unwary maid-of-all-work. 

About twenty years ago Chemistry dis- 
covered that the tinder-box might be abolished. 
But Chemistry set about its function with 
especial reference to the wants and the means 
of the rich few. In -the same way the first 
printed books were designed to have a great 
resemblance to manuscripts, and those of the 
wealthy class were alone looked to as the 
purchasers of the skilful imitations. The 
first chemical light-producer was a complex 
and ornamental casket, sold at a guinea. In 
a year or so, there were pretty portable cases 



of a phial and matches, which enthusiastic 
young housekeepers regarded as the cheapest 
of all treasures at five shillings. By and bye 
the light-box was sold as low as a shilling. 
The fire revolution was slowly ap'proaching. 
The old dynasty of the tinder-box maintained 
its predominance for a short while in kitchen 
and garret, in ^armhouse and cottage. At 
length some bold adventurer saw that the 
new chemical discovery might be employed 
for the production of a large article of trade 
that matches, in themselves the vehicles of 
fire without aid of spark and tinder, might 
be manufactured upon the factory system 
that the humblest in the land might have a 
new and indispensable comfort at the very 
lowest rate of cheapness. When Chemistry 
saw that phosphorus, having an affinity for 
oxygen at the lowest temperature, would 
ignite upon slight friction, and so ignited 
would ignite sulphur, which required a much 
higher temperature to become inflammable, 
thus making the phosphorus do the work of 
the old tinder with far greater certainty ; or 
when Chemistry found that chlorate of potash 
by slight friction might be exploded so as to 
produce combustion, and might be safely used 
in the same combination a blessing was be- 
stowed upon society that can scarcely be 
measured by those who have had no former 
knowledge of the miseries and privations of 
the tinder-box. The Penny Box of Lucifers, 
or Congreves, or by whatever name called, is 
a real triumph of Science, and an advance in 
Civilisation. 

Let us now look somewhat closely and 
practically into the manufacture of a Lucifer- 
match. 

The combustible materials used in the 
manufacture render the process an unsafe 
one. It cannot be carried on in the heart of 
towns without being regarded as a common 
nuisance. We must therefore go somewhere 
in the suburbs of London to find such a trade. 
In the neighbourhood of Bethnal Green there 
is a large open space called Wisker's Gardens. 
This is not a place of courts and alleys, but a 
considerable area, literally divided into small 
gardens, where j ust now the crocus and the 
snowdrop are telling hopefully of the spring- 
time. Each garden has the smallest of cot- 
tages for the most part wooden which have 
been converted from summer-houses into 
dwellings. The whole place reminds one of 
numberless passages in the old dramatists, in 
which the citizens' "wives are described in 
their garden-houses of Finsbury, or Hogsden, 
sipping syllabub and talking line on summer 
holidays. In one of these garden-houses, not 
far from the public road, is the little factory 
of ' Henry Lester, Patentee of the Domestic 
Safety Match-box,' as his label proclaims. 
He is very ready to show his processes, 
which in many respects are curious and in- 
teresting. 

Adam Smith has instructed us that the 
business of making a pin is divided into aboul 



HOUSEHOLD WOIcDS. 



[Conducted by 



eighteen distinct operations ; and further, that 
ten persons could make upwards of forty-eight 
thousand pins a day with the division of 
labour ; while if they had all wrought inde- 
pendently and separately, and without any of 
them having been educated to this peculiar 
business, they certainly could not each of 
them have made twenty. The Lucifer Matcl 
is a similar example of division of labour, 
and the skill of long practice. At a separate 
factory, where there is a steam-engine, not 
the refuse of the carpenter's shop, but the 
best Norway deals arc cut into splints by 
machinery, and are supplied to the match- 
maker. These little pieces, beautifully ac- 
curate in their minute squareness, and in 
their precise length of five inches, are made 
up into bundles, each of which contains 
eighteen hundred. They are daily brought 
on a truck to the dipping-house, as it is called 
the average number of matches finished off 
daily requiring two hundred of these bundles. 
Up to this point we have had several hands 
employed in the preparation of the match,, in 
connection with the machinery that cuts the 
wood. Let us follow one of these bundles 
through the subsequent processes. Without 
being separated, each end of the bundle is 
first dipped into sulphur. When dry, the 
splints, adhering to each other by means of the 
sulphur, must be parted by what is called 
dusting. A boy sitting oil the floor, with a 
bundle before him, strikes the matches with 
a sort of a mallet on the dipped ends till 
they become thoroughly loosened. In the 
best matches the process of sulphur-dipping 
and dusting is repeated. They have now 
to be plunged into a preparation of phos- 
phorus or chlorate of potash, according to 
the quality of the match. The phosphorus 
produces the pale, noiseless fire ; the chlorate 
of potash the sharp cracking illumination. 
After this application of the more inflamma- 
ble substance, the matches are separated, and 
dried in racks. Thoroughly dried, they are 
gathered up again into bundles of the same 
quantity ; and are taken to the boys who 
cut them ; for the reader will have observed 
that the bundles have been dipped at each 
end. There are few things more remarkable 
in manufactures than the extraordinary 
rapidity of this cutting process, and that 
which is connected with it. The boy stands 
before a bench, the bundle on his right hand, 
a pile of half opened empty boxes on his left, 
which have been manufactured at another 
division of this establishment. These boxes 
are formed of scale-board, that is, thin slices 
of wood, planed or scaled off' a plank. The 
box itself is a marvel of neatness and cheap- 
ness It consists of an inner box, without 
a top, in which the matches are placed, and 
of an outer case, open at each end, into which 
the first box slides. The matches, then, are 
to be cut, and the empty boxes filled, by one 
boy. A bundle is opened ; he seizes a por- 
tion, knowing by long habit the required 



number with sufficient exactness; puts them 
rapidly into a sort of frame, knocks the 
ends evenly together, confines them with 
a strap which he tightens with his foot, 
and cuts them in two parts with a knife 
on a hinge, which he brings down with 
a strong leverage: the halves lie projecting 
over each end of the frame ; he grasps the 
left portion and thrusts it into a half open 
box, which lie instantly closes, and repeats 
the process with the matches on his right 
hand. This series of movements is performed 
with a rapidity almost unexampled ; for in 
this way, two hundred thousand matches are 
cut, and two thousand boxes iilled in a day, 
by one boy, at the wages of three halfpence 
per gross of boxes. Each dozen boxes is 
then papered up, and they are ready for the 
retailer. The number of boxes daily filled at 
this factory is from fifty to sixty gross. 

The wholesale pi-ice per dozen boxes of the 
best matches, is FOURPENCE, of the second 
quality, THREEPENCE. 

There are about ten Lucifer Match ma- 
nufactories in London. There are others 
in large provincial towns. The wholesale 
business is chiefly confined to the supply of 
the metropolis and immediate neighbourhood 
by the London makers ; for the railroad 
carriers refuse to receive the article, which 
is considered dangerous in transit. But we 
must not therefore assume that the metro- 
politan population consume the metropolitan 
matches. Taking the population at upwards 
of two millions, and the inhabited houses at 
about three hundred thousand, let us en- 
deavour to estimate the distribution of these 
little articles of domestic comfort. 

At the manufactory at Wisker's Gardens 
there are fifty gross, or seven thousand two 
hundred boxes, turned out daily, made from 
two hundred bundles, which will produce 
seven hundred and twenty thousand matches. 
Taking three hundred working days in the 
year, this will give for one factory, two hun- 
dred and sixteen millions of matches annually, 
or two millions one hundred and sixty 
thousand boxes, being a box of one hun- 
dred matches for every individual of the 
London population. But there are ten other 
Lucifer manufactories, which are estimated 
to produce about four or five times as many 
more. London certainly cannot absorb ten 
millions of Lucifer boxes annually, which 
would be at the rate of thirty three boxes to 
each inhabited house. London, perhaps, de- 
mands a third of the supply for its own con- 
sumption ; and at this rate the annual retail 
cost for each house is eightpence, averaging 
those boxes sold at a halfpenny, and th ose at 
a penny. The manufacturer sells this article, 
produced with such care as we have de- 
scribed, at one farthing and a fraction per 
box. 

And thus, for the retail expenditure of 
three farthings per month, every house in 
London, from the highest to the lowest, 



THE AMUSEMENTS OF THE PEOPLE. 



57 



may secure the inestimable blessing of con- 
stant tire aft all seasons, and at all hours. 
London buys this for ten thousand pounds 
annually. 

The excessive cheapness is produced by the 
extension of the demand, enforcing the fac- 
tory division of labour, and the most exact 
saving of material. The scientific discovery 
was the foundation of the cheapness. But 
connected with this general principle of cheap- 
ness, there are one or two remarkable points, 
which deserve attention. 

It is a law of this manufacture that the 
demand is greater in the summer than in the 
winter. The old match maker, as we have 
mentioned, was idle in the summer without 
fire for heating the brimstone or engaged in 
more profitable field-work. A worthy woman 
who once kept a chandler's shop in a village, 
informs us, that in summer she could buy no 
matches for retail, but was obliged to make 
them for her customers. The increased 
summer demand for the Lucifer Matches 
shows that the great consumption is amongst 
the masses the labouring population those 
who make up the vast majority of the con- 
tributors to duties of customs and excise. In 
the houses of the wealthy there is always fire ; 
in the nouses of the poor, fire in summer is a 
needless hourly expense. Then comes the 
Lucifer Match to supply the want ; to light 
the candle to look in the dark cupboard to 
light the afternoon fire to boil the kettle. 
It is now unnecessary to run to the neigh- 
bour for a light, or, a,s a desperate resource, 
to work at the tinder-box. The Lucifer 
Matches sometimes fail, but they cost little, 
and so they are freely used, even by the 
poorest. 

And this involves another great principle. 
The demand for the Lucifer Match is always 
continuous, for it is a perishable article. The 
demand never ceases. Every match burnt 
demands a new match to supply its place. 
This continuity of demand renders the supply 
always equal to the demand. The peculiar 
nature of the commodity prevents any accu- 
mulation of stock ; its combustible character 
requiring the simple agency of friction to ignite 
it renders it dangerous for large quantities 
of the article to be kept in one place. 
Therefore no one makes for store, but all 
for immediate sale. The average price, 
therefore, must always yield a profit, or 
the production would altogether cease. But 
these essential qualities limit the profit. The 
manufacturers cannot be rich without secret 
processes or monopoly. The contest is to 
obtain the largest profit by economical ma- 
nagement. The amount of skill required in 
the labourers, and the facility of habit, which 
makes fingers act with the precision of 
machines, limit the number of labourers, and 
prevent their impoverishment. Every con- 
dition of this cheapness is a natural and 
beneficial result of the laws that govern pro- 
duction. 



THE AMUSEMENTS OF THE PEOPLE. 



MR. WHELKS being much in the habit of 
recreating himself at a class of theatres called 
' Saloons,' we repaired to one of these, not long 
ago, on a Monday evening ; Monday being a 
great holiday-night with MR. WHELKS and his 
friends. 

The Saloon in question is the largest in 
London (that which is known as The Eagle, 
in the City Road, should be excepted from the 
generic term, as not presenting by any means 
the same class of entertainment), and is situate 
not far from Shoreditch Church. It announces 
' The People's Theatre,' as its second name. 
The prices of admission are, to the boxes, a 
shilling ; to the pit, sixpence ; to the lower 
gallery, fourpence ; to the upper gallery and 
back seats, threepence. There is no half-price. 
The opening piece on this occasion was de- 
scribed in the bills as ' the greatest hit of the 
season, the grand new legendary and tra- 
ditionary drama, combining supernatural 
agencies with historical facts, and identifying 
extraordinary superhuman causes with mate- 
rial, terrific, and powerful effects.' All the 
queen's horses and all the queen's men could 
not have drawn MR. WHELKS into the place 
like this description. Strengthened by litho- 
graphic representations of the principal super- 
human causes, combined with the most popular 
of the material, terrific, and powerful effects, 
it became irresistible. Consequently, we had 
already failed, once, in finding six square inches 
of room within the walls, to stand upon ; and 
when we now paid our money for a little stage 
box, like a dry shower-bath, we did so in the 
midst of a stream of people who persisted in 
paying their's for other parts of the house 
in despite of the representations of the 
Money-taker that it was 'very full, every- 
where.' 

The outer avenues and passages of the 
People's Theatre bore abundant testimony to 
the fact of its being frequented by very dirty 
people. Within, the atmosphere was far from 
odoriferous. The place was crammed to excess, 
in all parts. Among the audience were a large 
number of boys and youths, and a great many 
very young girls grown into bold women 
before they had well ceased to be children. 
These last were the worst features of the 
whole crowd, and were more prominent there 
than in any other sort of public assembly 
that we know of, except at a public exe- 
cution. There was no drink supplied, beyond 
the contents of the porter-can_ (magnified 
in its dimensions, perhaps), which may be 
usually seen traversing the galleries of the 
largest Theatres as well as the least, and 
which was here seen everywhere. Huge ham- 
sandwiches, piled on trays like deals in a 
timber-yard, were handed about for sale to 
the hungry ; and there was no stint of oranges 
cakes, brandy-balls, or other similar refresh- 
ments. The Theatre was capacious, with a 
very large capable stage, well lighted, well 



58 



HOUSEHOLD WOEDS. 



[Conducted by 



appointed, and managed in a business-like, 
orderly manner in all respects; the pcrt'.inn- 
ances 'had begun so early as a quarter past 
six, ami had been then in progress for three- 
quarters of an hour. 

It was apparent here, as in the theatre we 
had previously visited, that one of the reasons 
of its great attraction was its being directly 
addressed to the common people, in the pro- 
vision made for their seeing and hearing. 
Instead of being put away in a dark gap in 
the roof of an immense building, as in our 
once National Theatres, they were here in 
possession of eligible points of view, and 
thoroughly able to take in the whole per- 
formance. Instead of being at a great dis- 
advantage in comparison with the mass of 
the audience, they were here the audience, 
for whose accommodation the place was made. 
We believe this to be one great catise of the 
success of these speculations. In whatever 
way the common people are addressed, whe- 
ther in churches, chapels, schools, lecture- 
rooms, or theatres, to be successfully addressed 
they must be directly appealed to. No matter 
how good the feast, they will not come to it 
on mere sufferance. If, on looking round us, 
we find that the only things plainly and per- 
sonally addressed to them, from quack medi- 
cines upwards, be bad or very defective things, 
so much the worse for them and for all of 
us, and so much the more unjust and absurd 
the system which has haughtily abandoned a 
strong ground to such occupation. 

We will add that we believe these people 
have a right to be amused. A great deal that 
we consider to be unreasonable, is written and 
talked about not licensing these places of en- 
tertainment. We have already intimated that 
we believe a love of dramatic representations 
to be an inherent principle in human nature. 
In most conditions of human life of which we 
have any knowledge, from the Greeks to the 
Bosjesmen, some form of dramatic represen- 
tation has always obtained.* We have a 
vast respect for county magistrates, and for 
the lord chamberlain ; but we render greater 
deference to such extensive and immutable 
experience, and think it will outlive the whole 
existing court and commission. We would 
assuredly not bear harder on the fourpenny 
theatre, than on the four shilling theatre, or 
the four guinea theatre ; but we would deci- 
dedly interpose to turn to some wholesome 
account the means of instruction which it has 
at command, and we would make that office 
of Dramatic Licenser, which, like many other 
offices, has become a mere piece of Court 

* In the remote interior of Africa, and among the North 
American Indians, this truth is exemplified in an equally 
Striking manner. Who tlr.it .saw the four grim, stunted, 
abject nsh-iM' ( ,|,]i! at the Egyptian Mall with tv.-u natural 
actors among them out of that number, one a mal,' and tli, 
other a female can forget how something human and imagi- 
native gradually broke out in the little ugly man, when he 
was roused from crouching over the charcoal fire, into giving 
a dramatic representation of the tracking of a in'a-^t, the 
shooting of it with poisoned arrows, and the creature's 
death V 



favour and dandy conventionality, a real, 
responsible, educational trust. We would 
have it exercise a sound supervision over the 
lower drama, instead of stopping the career 
of a real work of art, as it did in the case of 
Mr. Chorley's play at the Surrey Theatre, 
but a few weeks since, for a sickly point of 
form. 

To return to Mr. Whelks. The audience, 
being able to see and hear, were very atten- 
tive. They were so closely packed, that they 
took a little time in settling down after any 
pause ; but otherwise the general disposition 
was to lose nothing, and to check (in no choice 
language) any disturber of the business of the 
scene. 

On our arrival, MR. WHELKS had already 
followed Lady Hatton the Heroine (whom we 
faintly recognised as a mutilated theme of the 
late THOMAS INGOLDSBY) to the ' Gloomy Dell 
and Suicide's Tree,' where Lady H. had en- 
countered the ' apparition of the dark man of 
doom,' and heard the 'fearful story of the 
Suicide.' She had also 'signed the compact 
in her own Blood ;' beheld ' the Tombs rent 
asunder ;' seen ' skeletons start from their 
graves, and gibber Mine, mine, for ever ! ' 
and undergone all these little experiences, 
(each set forth in a separate line in the bill) 
in the compass of one act. It was not yet over, 
indeed, for we found a remote king of England 
of the name of 'Enerry,' refreshing himself 
with the spectacle of a dance in a Garden, 
which was interrupted by the ' thrilling ap- 
pearance of the Demon.' This ' superhuman 
cause ' (with black eyebrows slanting up into 
his temples, and red-foil cheekbones,) brought 
the Drop-Curtain down as we took possession 
of our Shower-Bath. 

It seemed, on the curtain's going up again, 
that Lady Hatton had sold herself to the 
Powers of Darkness, on very high terms, and 
was now overtaken by remorse, and by jealousy 
too ; the latter passion being excited by the 
beautiful Lady Ptodolpha, ward to the king. 
It was to nrge Lady Hatton on to the 
murder of this young female (as well as we 
could make out, but both we and MR. 
WHELKS found the incidents complicated) that 
the Demon appeared 'once again in all his 
terrors.' Lady Hatton had been leading a 
life of piety, but the Demon was not to have 
his bargain declared off, in right of any such 
artifices, and now offered a dagger for the 
destruction of llodolpha. Lady Hatton hesi- 
tating to accept this trifle from Tartarus, the 
Demon, for certain subtle reasons of his own, 
proceeded to entertain her with a view of tlie 
' gloomy court-yard of a convent,' and the 
apparitions of the ' Skeleton Monk,' and the 
' King of Terrors.' Against these super- 
human causes, another superhuman cause, to 
wit, the ghost of Lady H.'s mother came into 
play, and greatly confounded the Powers of 
Darkness, by waving the 'sacred emblem ' over 
the head of the else devoted llodolpha, and 
causing her to sink into the earth. Upon this 



Chrlea Dickens.] 



THE AMUSEMENTS OF THE PEOPLE. 



59 



the Demon, losing his temper, fiercely invited 
Lady Hatton to ' Be-old the tortures of the 
damned ! ' and straightway conveyed her to a 
' grand and awful view of Pandemonium, and 
Lake of Transparent Boiling Fire,' whereof, 
and also of 'Prometheus chained, and the 
Vulture gnawing at his liver,' MB. WHELKS 
was exceedingly derisive. 

The Demon still failing, even there, and 
still finding the ghost of the old lady greatly 
in his way, exclaimed that these vexations had 
such a remarkable effect upon his spirit as to 
' sear his eyeballs,' and that he must go ' deeper 
down,' which he accordingly did. Hereupon 
it appeared that it was all a dream on Lady 
Hatton's part, and that she was newly 
married and uncommonly happy. This put 
an end to the incongruous heap of nonsense, 
and set MR. WHELKS applauding mightily ; 
for, except with the lake of transparent rolling 
fire (which was not half infernal enough for 
him), MR. WHELKS was infinitely contented 
with the whole of the proceedings. 

Ten thousand people, every week, all the 
year round, are estimated to attend this place 
of amusement. If it were closed to-morrow 
if there were fifty such, and they were all 
closed to-morrow the only result would be 
to cause that to be privately and evasively 
done, which is now publicly done ; to render 
the- harm of it much greater, and to exhibit 
the suppressive power of the law in an op- 
pressive and partial light. The people who 
now resort here, will be amused somewhere. 
It is of no use to blink that fact, or to make 
pretences to the contrary. We had far better 
apply ourselves to improving the character 
of their amusement. It would not be ex- 
acting much, or exacting anything very diffi- 
cult, to require that the pieces represented in 
these Theatres should have, at least, a good, 
plain, healthy purpose in them. 

To the end that our experiences might not 
be supposed to be partial or unfortunate, we 
went, the very next night, to the Theatre 
where we saw MAT MORNING, and found 
MR. WHELKS engaged in the study of an 
* Original old English Domestic and Bo- 
mantic Drama,' called 'EvA THE BETRAYED, 
OR THE LADYE OF LAMBYTHE.' We proceed 
to develope the incidents which gradually 
unfolded themselves to MR. WHELKS'S under- 
standing. 

One Geoffrey Thornley the younger, on a 
certain fine morning, married his father's 
ward, Eva the Betrayed, the Ladye of Lam- 
bythe. She had become the betrayed, in 
right or in wrong of designing Geoffrey's 
.machinations ; for that corrupt individual, 
knowing her to be under promise of marriage 
to Walter More, a young mariner (of whom 
he was accustomed to make slighting mention, 
as 'a minion'), represented the said More 
to be no more, and obtained the consent of 
the too trusting Eva to their immediate 
union. 

Now, it came to pass, by a singular coin- 



cidence, that on the identical morning of the 
marriage, More came home, and was taking 
a walk about the scenes of his boyhood a 
little faded since that time when he rescued 
'Wilbert the Hunchback' from some very 
rough treatment. This misguided person, in 
return, immediately fell to abusing his pre- 
server in round terms, giving him to under- 
stand that he (the preserved) hated ' maner- 
kind, wither two eckerceptions,' one of them 
being the deceiving Geoffrey, whose retainer 
he was, and for whom he felt an unconquer- 
able attachment ; the other, a relative, whom, 
in a similar redundancy of emphasis, adapted 
to the requirements of MR. WHELKS, he 
called his ' assister.' This misanthrope also 
made the cold-blooded declaration, 'There 
was a timer when I loved my fellow keretures 
till they deserpised me. Now, I live only 
to witness man's disergherace and woman's 
misery ! ' In furtherance of this amiable 
purpose of existence, he directed More to 
where the bridal procession was coming 
home from church, and Eva recognised 
More, and More reproached Eva, and there 
was a great to-do, and a violent struggling, 
before certain social villagers who were cele- 
brating the event with morris-dances. Eva 
was borne off in a tearing condition, and 
the bill very truly observed that the end of 
that part of the business was ' despair and 
madness.' 

Geoffrey, Geoffrey, why were you already 
married to another ! Why could you not be 
true to your lawful wife Katherine, instead of 
deserting her, and leaving her to come tum- 
bling into public-houses (on account of weak- 
ness) in search of you ! You might have known 
what it would end in, Geoffrey Thornley ! 
You might have known that she would come 
up to your house on your wedding day with 
her marriage-certificate in her pocket, de- 
termined to expose you. You might have 
known beforehand, as you now very com- 
posedly observe, that you would have 'but 
one course to pursue.' That course clearly is 
to wind your right hand in Katherine's long 
hair, wrestle with her, stab her, throw down 
the body behind the door (Cheers from MR. 
WHELKS), and tell the devoted Hunchback to 
get rid of it. On the devoted Hunchback's 
finding that it is the body of his ' assister,' 
and taking her marriage-certificate from her 
pocket and denouncing you, of course you 
have still but one course to pursue, and that 
is to charge the crime upon him, and have 
him carried off with all speed into the ' deep 
and massive dungeons beneath Thornley 
Hall.' 

More having, as he was rather given to 
boast, ' a goodly vessel on the lordly Thames,' 
had better have gone away with it, weather 
permitting, than gone . after Eva. Naturally, 
he got carried down to the dungeons too, for 
lurking about, and got put into the next 
dungeon to the Hunchback, then expiring 
from poison. And there they were, hard and 



60 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



fast, like two wild beasts in dens, trying to get 
glimpses of each other through the bars, to 
the uuutterable interest of MR. WHELKS. 

But when the Hunchback made himself 
known, and when More did the same ; and 
when the Hunchback said he had got the cer- 
tificate which rendered Eva's marriage illegal ; 
and when More raved to have it given to 
him, and when the Hunchback (as having 
some grains of misanthropy in him to the last) 
persisted in goin^ into his dying agonies in a 
remote corner of his cage, and took unheard-of 
trouble not to die anywhere near the bars 
that were within More's reach ; MR. WHELKS 
applauded to the echo. At last the Hunch- 
back was persuaded to stick the certificate 
on the point of a dagger, and hand it in ; 
and that done, died extremely hard, knocking 
himself violently about, to the very last gasp, 
and certainly making the most of all the life 
that was in him. 

Still, More had yet to get out of his den 
before he could turn this certificate to any 
account. His first step was to make such a 
violent uproar as to bring into his presence a 
certain 'Norman Free Lance' who kept watch 
and ward over him. His second, to inform 
this warrior, in the style of the Polite Letter- 
Writer, that ' circumstances had occurred ' 
rendering it necessary that he should be im- 
mediately let out. The warrior declining to 
submit himself to the force of these circum- 
stances, Mr. More proposed to him, as a gen- 
tleman and a man of honour, to allow him to 
step out into the gallery, and there adjust an 
old feud subsisting between them, by single 
combat. The unwary Free Lance, consenting 
to this reasonable proposal, was shot from 
behind by the comic man, whom he bitterly 
designated as ' a snipe ' for that action, and 
then died excedingly game. 

All this occurred in one day the bridal 
day of the Ladye of Lainbythe ; and now 
MR. WHELKS concentrated all his energies 
into a focus, bent forward, looked straight in 
front of him, and held his breath. For, the 
night of the eventful day being come, MR. 
WHELKS was admitted to the ' bridal chamber 
of the Ladye of Lambythe,' where he beheld a 
toilet table, and a particularly large and deso- 
late four-post bedstead. Here the Ladye, 
having dismissed her bridesmaids, was inter- 
rupted in deploring her unhappy fate, by the 
entrance of her husband ; and matters, under 
these circumstances, were proceeding to very 
desperate extremities, when the Ladye (by 
this time aware of the existence of the certi- 
ficate) found a dagger on the dressing-table, 
and said, ' Attempt to enfold me in thy perni- 
cious embrace, and this poignard ! ' &c. He 
did attempt it, however, for all that, and he 
and the Ladye were dragging one another 
about like wrestlers, when Mr. More broke 
open the door, and entering with the whole 
domestic establishment and a Middlesex ma- 
gistrate, took him into custody and claimed 
nis bride. 



It is but fair to MR. WHELKS to remark on 
one curious fact in this entertainment. \\ in n 
the situations were very strong indeed, they 
were very like what some favourite situations 
in the Italian Opera would be to a pro- 
foundly deaf spectator. The despair and 
madness at the end of the first act, the 
business of the long hair, and the struggle in 
the bridal chamber, were as like the conven- 
tional passion of the Italian singers, as the 
orchestra was unlike the opera band, or its 
' hurries ' unlike the music of the great com- 
posers. So do extremes meet ; and so is there 
some hopeful congeniality between what will 
excite MR. WHELKS, and what will rouse a 
Duchess. 



SONNET 

TO LORD DENMAN. 

Retiring from the Chief Justiceship of England. 
THERE is a solemn rapture iu the Hail 
With which a nation blesses thy repose, 
Which proves thy image deathless that the close 
Of man's extremcst age whose boyhood glows 
While pondering o'er thy lineaments, shall fail 
To delegate to cold historic tale 
What DENMAN was ; for dignity which flows 
Not in the moulds of compliment extern, 
But from the noble spirit's purest urn 
Springs vital ; justice kept from rigour's flaw 
By beautiful regards ; and thoughts that burn 
With generous ire, no form but thine shall draw 
Within the soul, when distant times would leam 
The bodied majesty of England's Law. 



LIZZIE LEIGH. 

IN FOUR CHAPTERS. CHAPTER IH. 

THAT night Mrs. Leigh stopped at home ; 
that only night for many months. Even Tom, 
the scholar, looked up from his books in 
amazement ; but then he remembered that 
Will had not been well, and that his mother's 
attention having been called to the circum- 
stance, it was only natural she should stay to 
watch him. And no watching could be more 
tender, or more complete. Her loving eyes 
seemed never averted from his face ; his 
grave, sad, care-worn face. When Tom went 
to bed the mother left her seat, and going 
up to Will where he sat looking at the fire, 
but not seeing it, she kissed his forehead, and 
said, 

' Will ! lad, I Ve been to see Susan Palmer ! ' 
She felt the start under her hand which 
was placed on his shoulder, but he was silent 
for a minute or two. Then he said, 
' What took you there, mother ? ' 
' Why, my lad, it was likely I should wish 
to see one you cared for ; I did not put myself 
forward. I put on my Sunday clothes, and tried 
to behave as yo 'd ha liked me. At least I re- 
member trying at first; but after, I forgot 
all.' 



Charles Dickens.] 



LIZZIE LEIGH. 



61 



She rather wished that he would question 
her as to what made her forget all. But he 
only said, 

' How was she looking, mother ? ' 

' Will, thou seest I never set eyes on her 
before ; but she 's a good gentle looking 
creature ; and I love her dearly, as I Ve 
reason to,' 

Will looked up with momentary surprise ; 
for his mother was too shy to be usually taken 
with strangers. But after all it was natural 
in this case, for who could look at Susan with- 
out loving her ? So still he did not ask any 
questions, and his poor mother had to take 
courage, and try again to introduce the sub- 
ject near to her heart. But how ? 

' Will ! ' said she (jerking it out, in sudden 
despair of her own powers to lead to what she 
wanted to say), ' I telled her all.' 

' Mother ! you Ve ruined me,' said he 
standing up, and standing opposite to her 
with a stern white look of affright on his 
face. 

' No ! my own dear lad ; dunnot look so 
scared, I have not ruined you ! ' she exclaimed, 
placing her two hands on his shoulders and 
looking fondly into his face. ' She 's not one to 
harden her heart against a mother's sorrow. 
My own lad, she 's too good for that. She 's 
not one to judge and scorn the sinner. She 's 
too deep read in her New Testament for 
that. Take courage, Will ; and thou mayst, 
for I watched her well, though it is not 
for one woman to let out another's secret. 
Sit thee down, lad, for thou look'st very 
white.' 

He sat down. His mother drew a stool 
towards him, and sat at his feet. 

' Did you tell her about Lizzie, then ? ' asked 
he, hoarse and low. 

" I did, I telled her all ; and she fell a 
crying over my deep sorrow, and the poor 
wench's sin. And then a light corned into her 
face, trembling and quivering with some new 
glad thought ; and what dost thou think it 
was, Will, lad 1 Nay, I '11 not misdoubt but 
that thy heart will give thanks as mine did, 
afore God and His angels, for her great good- 
ness. That little Nanny is not her niece, 
she 's our Lizzie's own child, my little grand- 
child.' She could no longer restrain her tears, 
and they fell hot and fast, but still she looked 
into his face. 

' Did she know it was Lizzie's child ? I do 
not comprehend,' said he, flushing red. 

' She knows now : she did not at first, but 
took the little helpless creature in, out of her 
own pitiful loving heart, guessing only that it 
was the child of shame, and she 's worked for 
it, and kept it, and tended it ever sin' it were 
a mere baby, and loves it fondly. Will ! 
won't you love it 1 ' asked she beseechingly. 

He was silent for an instant ; then he said, 
' Mother, I '11 try. Give me time, for all these 
things startle me. To think of Susan having 
to do with such a child ! ' 

' Aye, Will ! and to think (as may be yet) 



of Susan having to do with the child's mother ! 
For she is tender and pitiful, and speaks hope- 
fully of my lost one, and will try and find her 
for me, when she comes, as she does some- 
times, to thrust money under the door, for 
her baby. Think of that, Will. Here's 
Susan, good and pure as the angels in heaven, 
yet, like them, full of hope and mercy, and 
one who, like them, will rejoice over her as 
repents. Will, my lad, I 'm not afeared 01 
you now, and I must speak, and you must 
listen. I am your mother, and I dare to 
command you, because I know I am in the 
right and that God is on my side. If He 
should lead the poor wandering lassie to 
Susan's door, and she comes back crying and 
sorrowful, led by that good angel to us once 
more, thou shalt never say a casting-up 
word to her about her sin, but be tender 
and helpful towards one " who was lost and 
is found," so may God's blessing rest on thee, 
and so mayst thou lead Susan home as thy 
wife.' 

She stood, no longer as the meek, imploring, 
gentle mother, but firm and dignified, as if the 
interpreter of God's will. Her manner was 
so unusual and solemn, that it overcame all 
Will's pride and stubbornness. He rose softly 
while she was speaking, and bent his head 
as if in reverence at her words, and the solemn 
injunction which they conveyed. When she 
had spoken, he said in so subdued a voice 
that she was almost surprised at the sound, 
' Mother, I will.' 

' I may be dead and gone, but all the same, 
thou wilt take home the wandering sinner, 
and heal up her sorrows, and lead her to her 
Father's house. My lad ! I can speak no 
more ; I 'm turned very faint.' 

He placed her in a chair ; he ran for water. 
She opened her eyes and smiled. 

' God bless you, Will. Oh ! I am so happy. 
It seems as if she were found ; my heart is so 
filled with gladness.' 

That night Mr. Palmer stayed out late and 
long. Susan was afraid that he was at his 
old haunts and habits, getting tipsy at some 
public-house ; and this thought oppressed her, 
even though she had so much to make her 
happy, in the consciousness that Will loved 
her. She sat up long, and then she went 
to bed, leaving all arranged as well as she 
could for her father's return. She looked at 
the little rosy sleeping girl who was her bed- 
fellow, with redoubled tenderness, and with 
many a prayerful thought. The little arms 
entwined her neck as she lay down, for Nanny 
was a light sleeper, and was conscious that 
she, who was loved with all the power of that 
sweet childish heart, was near her, and by 
her, although she was too sleepy to utter any 
of her half-formed words. 

And by-and-bye she heard her father come 
home, stumbling uncertain, trying first the 
windows, and next the door-fastenings, with 
many a loud incoherent murmur. The little 
Innocent twined around her seemed all the 



62 



HOUSEHOLD WOEDS. 



[Conducted hy 



sweeter and more lovely, when she thought 
s:ullv of her erring father. And presently he 
called aloud for a light ; she had left matches 
and all arranged as usual on the dresser, but, 
fearful of some accident from fire, in his 
unusually intoxicated state, she now got up 
softly, and putting on a cloak, went down to 
his assistance. 

Alas ! the little arms that were unclosed 
from her soft neck belonged to a light, i 

! ;ened sleeper. Nanny missed her darling 
Susy, and terrified at being left alone in the 
vast mysterious darkness, which had no 
bounds, and seemed infinite, she slipped out 
of bed, and tottered in her little night-gown 
towards the. door. There was a light below. 
and there was Susy and safety ! So she went 
onwards two steps towards the steep abrupt 
stairs ; and then dazzled with sleepiness, she 
stood, she; wavered, she fell ! Down on her 
head on the stone floor she fell ! Susan flew 
to her, and spoke all soft, entreating, loving 
words ; but her white lids covered up the 
blue violets of eyes, and there was no murmur 
came out of the pale lips. The warm tears 
that rained down did not awaken her ; she 
lay stiff, and weary with her short life, on 
Susan's knee. Susan went sick with terror. 
She carried her upstairs, and laid her tenderly 
in bed ; she dressed herself most hastily, with 
her trembling fingers. Her father was asleep 
on the settle down stairs ; and useless, and 
worse than useless if awake. But Susan flew 
out of the door, and down the quiet resound- 
ing street, towards the nearest doctor's house. 
Quickly she went ; but as quickly a shadow 
followed, as if impelled by some sudden terror. 
Susan, rung wildly at the night-bell, the 
shadow crouched near. The doctor looked 
out from an upstairs window. 

' A little child has fallen down stairs at 
No. 9, Crown-street, and is very ill, dying 
I'm afraid. Please, for God's sake, sir, come 
directly. No. 9, Crown-street.' 

' I '11 be there directly,' said he, and shut the 
window. 

' For that God you have just spoken about, 
for His sake, tell me are you Susan 
Palmer? Is it my child that lies a-dying?' 
said the shadow, springing forwards, and 
clutching poor Susan's arm. 

' It is a little child of two years old. I do 
not know whose it is ; I love it as my own. 
Come with me, whoever you are ; come with 
me.' 

The two sped along the silent streets, as 
silent as the night were they. They entered 
the house ; Susan snatched up the light, and 
carried it upstairs. The other followed. 

She stood with wild glaring eyes by the 
bedside, never looking at Susan, but hungrily 
gazing at the little white still child. She 
stooped down, and put her hand tight on her 
own heart, as if to still its beating, and bent 
her ear to the pale lips. Whatever the 
result was, she did not speak ; but threw off 
the bed-clothes wherewith Susan had tenderly i 



covered up the little creature, and felt its 
left side. 

Then she threw up IKT arms with a cry of 
wild despair. 

' She is dead ! she is dead ! ' 

She looked so fierce, so mad, so haggard, 
that for an instant Susan was terrified- the 
next, the holy God had put courage into her 
heart, and her pure arms were round that 

tuilty \yretched creature, and her tears were 
illing fast and' warm upon her breast. But 
she was thrown off with violence. 

'You killed her you slighted her you 
let her fall down those stairs ! you killed 
her!' 

Susan cleared off the thick mist before her, 
and gazing at the mother with her clear, 
sweet, angel-eyes, said, mournfully 

' I would have laid down my own life for 
her.' 

' Oh, the murder is on my soul ! ' exclaimed 
the wild bereaved mother, with the fierce 
impetuosity of one who has none to love her 
and to be beloved, regard to whom might 
teach self-restraint. 

' Hush ! ' said Susan, her finger on her lips. 
' Here is the doctor. God may suffer her 
to live.' 

The poor mother turned sharp round. The 
doctor mounted the stair. All ! that mother 
was right ; the little child was really dead 
and gone: . ,, 

And when he confirmed her judgment, the 
mother fell down in a fit. Susan, with her 
deep grief, had to forget herself, and forget 
her darling (her charge for years), and ques- 
tion the doctor what she must do with the 
poor wretch, who lay on the floor in such 
extreme of misery. 

' She is the mother ! ' said she. 

' Why did not she take better care of her 
child 1 ' asked he, almost angrily. 

But Susan only said, ' The little child slept 
with me ; and it was I that left her.' 

' I will go back and make up a composing 
draught ; and while I am away you must get 
her to bed.' 

Susan took out some of her own clothes, 
and softly undressed the stiff, powerless, form. 
There was no other bed in the house but the 
one in which her father slept. So she 
tenderly lifted the body of her darling ; and 
was going to take it down stairs, but the 
mother opened her eyes, and seeing what she 
was about, she said, 

' I am not worthy to touch her, I am so 
wicked ; I have spoken to you as I never 
should have spoken ; but I think you are 
very good ; may I have my own child to lie 
in my arms for a little while ? ' 

Her voice was so strange a contrast to what 
it had been before she had gone into the fit 
that Susan hardly recognised it ; it was now 
so unspeakably soft, so irresistibly pleading, 
the features too had lost their fierce expression, 
and were almost as placid as death. Susan 
could not speak, but she carried the little 



Ckarles Dickens.] 



LIZZIE LEIGH. 



63 



child, and laid it in its mother's arms ; then 
as she looked at them, something overpowered 
her, and she knelt down, crying aloud, 

' Oh, my God, my God, have mercy on her, 
and forgive, and comfort her.' 

But the mother kept smiling, and stroking 
the little face, murmuring soft tender words, 
as if it were alive ; she was going mad, Susan 
thought ; but she prayed on, and on, and ever 
still she prayed with streaming eyes. 

The doctor came with the draught. The 
mother took it, with docile unconsciousness 
of its nature as medecine. The doctor sat by 
her j and soon she fell asleep. Then he rose 
softly, and beckoning Susan to the door, he 
spoke to her there. 

'You must take the corpse out of her 
arms; She will not awake. That draught 
will make her sleep for many hours. I will 
call before noon again. It is now daylight. 
Good-bye.' 

Susan shut him out ; and then gently ex- 
tricating the dead child from its mother's 
arms, she could not resist making her own 
quiet moan over her darling. She tried to 
learn off its little placid face, dumb and pale 
before her. 

" Not all the scalding tears of care 

Shall wash away that vision fair ; 
Not all the thousand thoughts that rise, 
Not all the sights that dim her eyes, 
Shall e'er usurp the place 
Of that little angel-face." 

And then she remembered what remained 
to be done. She saw that all was right in 
the house ; her father was still dead asleep on 
the settle, in spite of all the noise of the 
night. She went out through the quiet 
streets, deserted still although it was broad 
daylight, -and to where the Leighs lived. 
Mrs. Leigh, who kept her country hours, was 
opening her window shutters. Susan took 
her by the arm, and, without speaking, went 
into the house-place. There she knelt down 
before the astonished Mrs. Leigh, and cried 
as she had never done before ; but the 
miserable night had overpowered her, and 
she who had gone through so much calmly, 
now that the pressure seemed removed could 
not find the power to speak. 

' My poor dear ! What has made thy 
heart so sore as to come and cry a-this-ons. 
Speak and tell me. Nay, cry on, poor 
wench, if thou canst not speak yet. It 
will ease the heart, and then thou canst tell 
me.' 

' Nanny is dead ! ' said Susan. ' I left her 
to go to father, and she fell down stairs, and 
never breathed again. Oh, that 's my sorrow ! 
but I've more to tell. Her mother is come 
is in our house ! Come and see if it 's your 
Lizzie.' Mrs. Leigh could not speak, but, 
trembling, put on her things, and went 
with Susan in dizzy haste back to Crown- 
street. 



CHAPTER IV. 

As they entered the house in Crown-street, 
they perceived that the door would not open 
freely on its hinges, and Susan instinctively 
looked behind to see the cause of the obstruc- 
tion. She immediately recognised the appear- 
ance of a little parcel, wrapped in a scrap of 
newspaper, and evidently containing money. 
She stooped and picked it up. ' Look ! ' said 
she, sorrowfully, ' the mother was bringing 
this for her child last night.' 

But Mrs. Leigh did not answer. So near to 
the ascertaining if it were her lost child or no, 
she could not be arrested, but pressed onwards 
with trembling steps and a beating, fluttering 
heart. She entered the bed-room, dark and 
still. She took no heed of the little corpse, 
over which Susan paused, but she went 
straight to the bed, and withdrawing the 
curtain, saw Lizzie, but not the former Lizzie, 
bright, gay, buoyant, and undimrued. This 
Lizzie was old before her tune ; her beauty 
was gone ; deep lines of care, and alas ! of 
want (or thus the mother imagined) were 
printed on the cheek, so round, and fair, and 
smooth, when last she gladdened her mother's 
eyes. Even in her sleep she bore the look of 
woe and despair which was the prevalent ex- 
pression of her face by day ; even in her sleep 
she had forgotten how to smile. But all these 
marks of the sin and sorrow she had passed 
through only made her mother love her the 
more. She stood looking at her with greedy 
eyes, which seemed as though no gazing could 
satisfy their longing ; and at last she stooped 
down and kissed the pale, worn hand that lay 
outside the bed-clothes. No touch disturbed 
the sleeper ; the mother need not have laid 
the hand so gently down upon the counter- 
pane. There was no sign of life, save only 
now and then a deep sob-like sigh. Mrs. 
Leigh sat down beside the bed, and, still 
holding back the curtain, looked on and on, as 
if she could never be satisfied. 

Susan would fain have stayed by her darling 
one ; but she had many calls upon her time 
and thoughts, and her will had now, as ever, 
to be given up to that of others. All seemed 
to devolve the burden of their cares on her. 
Her father, ill-humoured from his last night's 
intemperance, did not scruple to reproach her 
with being the cause of little Nanny's death ; 
and when, after bearing his upbraiding meekly 
for some time, she could no longer restrain 
herself, but began to cry, he wounded her 
even more by his injudicious attempts at com- 
fort : for he said it was as well the child waa 
dead ; it was none of theirs, and why should 
they be troubled with it 1 Susan wrung her 
hands at this, and came and stood before her 
father, and implored him to forbear. Then 
she had to take all requisite steps for the 
coroner's inquest ; she had to arrange for the 
dismissal of her school ; she had to summon a 
little neighbour, and send his willing feet on 
a message to William Leigh, who, she felt, 
ought to be informed of his mother's where- 



64 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted li) 



abouts, and of the whole state of affairs. She 
asked her messenger to tell him to come and 
speak to her, that his mother was at her 
house. She was thankful that her father 
sauntered out to have a gossip at the nearest 
coach-stand, and to relate as many of the 
night's adventures as he knew ; for as yet lie 
was in ignorance of the watcher and the 
watched, who silently passed away the hours 
upstairs. 

At dinner-time Will came. He looked red, 
glad, impatient, excited. Susan stood calm 
and white before him, her soft, loving eyes 
gazing straight into his. 

' Will,' said she, in a low, quiet, voice, ' your 
sister is upstairs.' 

' My sister ! ' said he, as if affrighted at the 
idea, and losing his glad look in one of gloom. 
Susan saw it, and her heart sank a little, but 
she went on as calm to all appearance as 
ever. 

' She was little Nanny's mother, as perhaps 
you know. Poor little Nanny was killed last 
night by a fall down stairs.' All the calmness 
was gone ; all the suppressed feeling was dis- 
played in spite of every effort. She sat down, 
and hid her face from him, and cried bitterly. 
He forgot everything but the wish, the long- 
ing to comfort her. He put his arm round 
her waist, and bent over her. But all he 
could say, was, ' Oh, Susan, how can I comfort 
you ! Don't take on so, pray don't ! ' He 
never changed the words, but the tone varied 
every time he spoke. At last she seemed to 
regain her power over herself ; and she wiped 
her eyes, and once more looked upon him with 
her own quiet, earnest, unfearing gaze. 

' Your sister was near the house. She came 
in on hearing my words to the doctor. She is 
asleep now, and your mother is watching her. 
I wanted to tell you all myself. Would you 
like to see your mother ? ' 

' No ! ' said he. ' I would rather see none 
but thee. Mother told me thou knew'st all.' 
His eyes were downcast in their shame. 

But the holy and pure, did not lower or vail 
her eyes. 

She said, 'Yes, I know all all but her 
sufferings. Think what they must have 
been ! ' 

He made a,nswer low and stern, ' She de- 
served them all ; every jot.' 

' In the eye of God, perhaps she does. He 
is the judge : we are not.' 

' Oh !' she said with a sudden burst, ' Will 
Leigh ! I have thought so well of you ; don't 
go and make me think you cruel and hard. 
Goodness is not goodness unless there is 
mercy and tenderness with it. There is your 
mother who has been nearly heart-broken, 
now full of rejoicing over her child think 
of your mother.' 

' I do think of her,' said he. ' I remember 
the promise I gave her last night. Thou 
shouldst give me time. I would do right in 
time. I never think it o'er in quiet. But I 
will do what is right and fitting, never fear. 



Thou hast spoken out very plain to me ; :md 
misdoubted me, Susan; I love thee so, that 
thy words cut me. If I did hang back a bit 
from making sudden promises, it was because 
not even for love of thee, would I say what I 
was not feeling ; and at iirst I could not feel 
all at once as thou wouldst have me. But 
I 'm not cruel and hard ; for if I had been, 
I should na' have grieved as I have done.' 

He made as it' be were going away ; and 
indeed he did feel he would rather think it 
over in quiet. But Susan, grieved at her in- 
cautious words, which had all the appearance 
of harshness, went a step or two nearer 
paused and then, all over blushes, said in a 
low soft whisper 

' Oh Will ! I beg your pardon. I am very 
sorry won't you forgive me 1 ' 

She who had always drawn back, and been 
so reserved, said this in the very softest 
manner ; with eyes now uplifted beseechingly, 
now dropped to the ground. Her sweet con- 
fusion told more than words could do ; and 
Will turned back, all joyous in his certainty 
of being beloved, and took her in his arms 
and kissed her. 

' My own Susan !' he said. 

Meanwhile the mother watched her child 
in the room above. 

It was late in the afternoon before she 
awoke ; for the sleeping draught had been 
very powerful. The instant she awoke, her 
eyes were fixed on her mother's face with a 
gaze as unflinching as if she were fascinated. 
Mrs. Leigh did not turn away ; nor move. 
For it seemed as if motion would unlock the 
stony command over herself which, while so 
perfectly still, she was enabled to preserve. 
But by-and-bye Lizzie cried out in a piercing 
voice of agony 

' Mother, don't look at me ! I have been 
so wicked ! ' and instantly she hid her face, 
and grovelled among the bedclothes, and lay 
like one dead so motionless was she. 

Mrs. Leigh knelt down by the bed, and 
spoke in the most soothing tones. 

' Lizzie, dear, don't speak so. I 'm thy 
mother, darling ; don't be afeard of me. I 
never left off loving thee, Lizzie. I was 
always a-thinking of thee. Thy father for- 
gave thee afore he died.' (There was a little 
start here, but no sound was heard). ' Lizzie, 
lass, I '11 do aught for thee ; I '11 live for thee ; 
only don't be afeard of me. Whate'er thou 
art or hast been, we'll ne'er speak on 't. 
We '11 leave th' oud times behind us, and go 
back to the Upclose Farm. I but left it to 
find thee, my lass ; and God has led me to 
thee. Blessed be His name. And God is 
good too, Lizzie. Thou hast not forgot thy 
Bible, I '11 be bound, for thou wert always a 
scholar. I 'm no reader, but I learnt off them 
texts to comfort me a bit, and I 've said them 
many a time a day to myself. Lizzie, lass, 
don't hide thy head so, it 's thy mother as 
is speaking to thee. Thy little child clung to 
me only yesterday ; and if it 's gone to be an 



Charlea Dickens.] 



SHOET CUTS ACKOSS THE GLOBE. 



65 



angel, it will speak to God for thee. Nay, 
don't sob a that 'as ; thou shalt have it again 
in Heaven ; I know thou 'It strive to get 
there, for thy little Nancy's sake and listen ! 
I '11 tell thee God's promises to them that are 
penitent only doan't be afeard.' 

Mrs. Leigh folded her hands, and strove to 
speak very clearly, while she repeated every 
tender and merciful text she could remember. 
She could tell from the breathing that her 
daughter was listening ; but she was so 
dizzy and sick herself when she had ended, 
that she could not go on speaking. It was 
all she could do to keep from crying aloud. 

At last she heard her daughter's voice. 

have they taken her to ? ' she 



' Where 
asked. 



know that, if the cottage be hidden in a green 
hollow of the hills, every sound of sorrow in 
the whole upland is heard there every call 
of suffering or of sickness for help is listened 
to, by a sad, gentle-looking woman, who rarely 
smiles (and when she does, her smile is more 
sad than other people's tears), but who comes 
out of her seclusion whenever there 's a 
shadow in any household. Many hearts bless 
Lizzie Leigh, but she she prays always and 
ever for forgiveness such forgiveness as 
may enable her to see her child once more. 
Mrs. Leigh is quiet and happy. Lizzie is to 
her eyes something precious, as the lost 
piece of silver found once more. Susan is 
the bright one who brings sunshine to all. 
Children grow around her and call her blessed. 
One is called Nanny. Her, Lizzy often takes 
to the sunny graveyard in the uplands, and 
while the little creature gathers the daisies, 
and makes chains, Lizzie sits by a little grave, 
and weeps bitterly. 



THE SEASONS. 



' She is down stairs. So quiet, and peaceful, 
and happy she looks.' 

' Could she speak ? Oh, if God if I might 
but have heard her little voice ! Mother, I 
used to dream of it. May I see her once 
again Oh mother, if I strive very hard, and 
God is very merciful, and I go to heaven, I 
shall not know her I shall not know my 
own again she will shun me as a stranger 
and cling to Susan Palmer and to you. Oh 
woe ! Oh woe ! ' She shook with exceeding- 
sorrow. 

In her earnestness of speech she had un- 
covered her face, and tried to read Mrs. 
Leigh's thoughts through her looks. And 
when she saw those aged eyes brimming full 
of tears, and marked the quivering lips, she 
threw her arms round the faithful mother's 
neck, and wept there as she had done in many 
a childish sorrow ; but with a deeper, a more 
wretched grief. 

Her mother hushed her on her breast ; and 
lulled her as if she were a baby ; and she 
grew still and quiet. 

They sat thus for a long, long time. At 
last Susan Palmer came up with some tea and 
bread and butter for Mrs. Leigh. She 
watched the mother feed her sick, unwilling 
child, with every fond inducement to eat 
which she could devise ; they neither of them 
took notice of Susan's presence. That night 
they lay in each other's arms ; but Susan 
slept on the ground beside them. 

They took the little corpse (the little un- 
conscious sacrifice, whose early calling-home 
had reclaimed her poor wandering mother,) 
to the hills, which in her life-time she had 
never seen. They dared not lay her by the 
stern grand-father in Milne-Row churchyard, 
but they bore her to a loue moorland grave- 
yard, where long ago the quakers used to 
bury their dead. They laid her there on the 
sunny slope, where the earliest spring-flowers 
blow. 

Will and Susan live at the Upclose Farm. 
Mrs. Leigh and Lizzie dwell in a cottage so 
secluded that, until you drop into the very 
hollow where it is placed, you do not see it. 
Tom is a schoolmaster in Rochdale, and he 
and Will help to support their mother I only I of Good Hope. The Eastern difficulty has 



A BLUE-EYED child that sits amid the noon, 
O'crliung with a laburnum's drooping sprays, 

Singing her little songs, while softly round 
Along the grass the chequered sunshine plays. 

All beauty that is throned in womanhood, 
Pacing a summer garden's fountained walks, 

That stoops to smooth a glossy spaniel down, 
To hide her flushing cheek from one who talks. 

A happy mother with her fair-faced girls, 

In whose sweet spring again her youth she sees, 

With shout. or >'i dance aud laugh and bound aiid 

song, 
Striping an autumn orchard's laden trees. 

An aged woman in a wintry room ; 

Frost on the pane, without, the whirling snow ; 
Reading old letters of her far-off' youth, 

Of pleasures past and joys of long ago. 



SHORT CUTS ACROSS THE GLOBE. 



To a person who wishes to sail to California 
an inspection of the map of the world reveals 
a provoking peculiarity. The Atlantic Ocean 
the highway of the globe being sepa- 
rated from the Pacific by the great western 
continent, it is impossible to sail to the oppo- 
site coasts without going thousands of miles 
out of his Avay ; for he must double Cape 
Horn. Yet a closer inspection of the map 
will discover that but for one little barrier of 
land, which is in size but as a grain of sand 
to the bed of an ocean, the passage would be 
direct. Were it not for that small neck of 
land, the Isthmus of Panama (which narrows in 
one place to twenty-eight miles) he might save 
a voyage of from six to eight thousand miles, 
and pass at once into the Pacific Ocean. 
Again, if his desires tend towards the East, 
he perceives that but for the Isthmus of Suez, 
he would not be obliged to double the Cape 



66 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



been partially obviated by the overland route 
opened up by the ill-rewarded Wagborn. 
The western barrier has yet to be broken 
through. 

Now that we can shake hands with Brother 
Jonathan in twelve days by means of weekly 
steamers ; travel from one und of < : 
Britain to another, or from the Hudson to the 
Ohio, as fast as the wind, and make our words 
dance to distant friends upon the magic tight 
"wire a great deal faster now that the Euro- 
pean and Columbian Saxon is spreading his 
children more or less over all the known 
habitable world : it seems extraordinary that 
the simple expedient of opening a twenty- 
eight mile passage between the Pacific and 
Atlantic Oceans, to save a dangerous voyage 
of some eight thousand miles, has not been 
already achieved. In this age of enterprise 
that so simple a remedy for so great an evil 
should not have been applied appears as- 
tonishing. Nay, we ought to feel some shame 
when we reflect that evidences in the neigh- 
bourhood of both Isthmuses exist of such 
junctions having existed, in what we are 
pleased to designate ' barbarous ' ages. 

Does nature present insurmountable engi- 
neering difficulties to the Panama scheme ? 
By no means : for after the Croton aqueduct, 
our own railway tunnelling and the Britannia 
tubular bridge, engineering difficulties have 
become obsolete. Are the levels of the Pacific 
and the Gulph of Mexico, which should be 
joined, so different, that if one were admitted 
the fall would inundate the surrounding 
country? Not at all. Hear Humboldt on 
these points. 

Forty years ago he declared it to be his firm 
opinion that ' the Isthmus of Panama is suited 
to the formation of an oceanic canal one 
with fewer sluices than the Caledonian Canal 
capable of aifording an unimpeded passage, 
at all seasons of the year, to vessels of that 
class which sail between New York and Liver- 
pool, and between Chili and California.' In 
the recent edition of his ' Views of Nature,' 
he ' sees no reason to alter the views he has 
always entertained on this subject.' Engi- 
neers, both British and American, have 
confirmed this opinion by actual survey. 
As, then, combination of British skill, capital, 
and energy, with that of the most 'go-ahead' 
people upon earth, have been dormant, 
whence the secret of the delay ? The answer 
at once allays astonishment : Till the present 
time, the speculation would not have ' paid.' 

Large works of this nature, while they 
create an inconceivable development of com- 
merce, must have a certain amount of a 
trading population to begin upon. A gold- 
beater can cover the effigy of a man on 
horseback with a sovereign ; but he must 
have the sovereign first. It was not merely 
because the full power of the iron rail to 
facilitate the transition of heavy burdens had 
not been estimated, and because no Stephenson 
had constructed a ' Rocket engine,' that a 



railway with steam locomotives was not 
from London to Liverpool before 
l.SUi. Until the intermediate traiiic between 
these termini had swelled to a sufficient 
amount in quantity and value to bear reim- 
bursement for establishing such a mode of 
conveyance, its execution would have been 
impossible, even though men had known how 

.-'bout it. 

What has been the condition of the coun- 
tries under consideration? In 1839, the 
entire population of the tropical American 
isthmus, in the states of central America 
and Now Grenada did not exceed three 
millions. The number of the inhabitants 
of pure European descent did not ex- 
ceed one hundred thousand. It was only 
among this inconsiderable fraction that any- 
thing like wealth, intelligence, and enterprise, 
akin to that of Europe, was to be found ; the 
rest were poor and ignorant aboriginals and 
mixed races, in a state of scarcely demi-civi- 
lisation. Throughout thb f hinly-peopled and 
poverty-stricken region, there was neither 
law nor government. In Stephens's ' Central 
America,' may be found an amusing account 
of a hunt after a government, by a luckless 
American diplomatist, who had been sent to 
seek for one in central America. A night 
wanderer running through bog and brake 
after a will-o'-the-wisp could not have en- 
countered more perils, or in search of a 
more impalpable phantom. In short, there 
was nobody to trade with. To the south 
of the Isthmus, along the Pacific coast of 
America, there was only one station to 
which merchants could resort with any fair 
prospect of gain Valparaiso. Except Chili, 
all the Pacific states of South America were 
retrograding from a very imperfect civilisa- 
tion, under a succession of petty and aimless 
revolutions. To the north of the Isthmus 
matters were little, if anything, better. Mexico 
had gone backwards from the time of its 
revolution ; and, at the best, its commerce in 
the Pacific had been confined to a yearly 
ship between Acapulco and the Philippines. 
Throughout California and Oregon, with the 
exception of a few European and half-breed 
members, there were none but savage abori- 
ginal tribes. The Russian settlements in the 
far north had nothing but a paltry trade in furs 
with Kamschatka, that barely defrayed its own 
expenses. Neither was there any encourage- 
ment to make a short cut to the innumerable 
islands of the Pacific. The whole of Poly- 
nesia lay outside of the pale of civilisation. 
In Tahiti, the Sandwich group, and the 
northern peninsula of New Zealand, mis- 
sionaries had barely sowed the first seeds 
of morals and enlightenment. The limited 
commerce of China and the Eastern Archi- 
pelago was engrossed by Europe, and took 
the route of the Cape of Good Hope, with 
the exception of a few annual vessels that 
traded from the sea-board States of the 
North American Union to Valparaiso and 



Charles Dickens.] 



SHOET CUTS ACEOSS THE GLOBE. 



67 



Canton. The wool of New South Wales was 
but coming into notice, and found its way to 
England alone round the Cape of Good Hope. 
An American fleet of whalers scoured the 
Pacific, and adventurers of the same nation 
carried on a desultory and inconsiderable 
traffic in hides with California, in tortoise- 
shell and mother of pearl with the Polynesian 
Islands. 

What then would have been the use of 
cutting a canal, through which there would 
not have passed five ships in a twelvemonth 1 
But twenty years have worked a wondrous 
revolution in the state and prospects of these 
regions. 

The traffic of Chili has received a large 
development, and the stability of its institu- 
tions has been fairly tried. The resources of 
Costa Eica, the population of which is mainly 
of European race, is steadily advancing. 
American citizens have founded a state in 
Oregon. The Sandwich Islands have become 
for all practical purposes an American colony. 
The trade with China to which the proposed 
canal would open a convenient avenue by a 
western instead of the present eastern route 
is no longer restricted to the Canton river, but 
is open to all nations as far north as the Yang- 
tse-Kiang. The navigation of the Amur has 
been opened to the Russians by a treaty, and 
cannot long remain closed against the English 
and American settlers between Mexico and 
the Eussian settlements in America. Tahiti 
has become a kind of commercial emporium. 
The English settlements in Australia and New 
Zealand have opened a direct trade with the 
Indian Archipelago and China. The per- 
manent settlements of intelligent and enter- 
prising Anglo-Americans and English in 
Polynesia, and on the eastern and western 
shores of the Pacific, have proved so many 
depots for the adventurous traders with its 
innumerable islands, and for the spermaceti 
whalers. Then the last, but greatest addition 
of all, is California : a name in the world of 
commerce and enterprise to conjure with. 
There gold is to be had for fetching. Gold, 
the main-spring of commercial activity, the 
reward of toil for which men are ready to 
risk life, to endure every sort of privation ; 
sometimes, alas ! to sacrifice every virtue ; one 
most especially, and that is Patience. They 
will away with her now. 

Till the discovery of the new Gold country 
how contentedly they dawdled round Cape 
Horn ; creeping down one coast and up 
another ; but now such delay is not to be 
thought of. Already, indeed, Panama has 
become the seat of a great increasing and 
perennial transit trade. This cannot fail to 
augment the settled population of the region, 
its wealth and intelligence. Upon these facts 
we rest the conviction that the time has 
arrived for realising the project of a ship 
canal there or in the near neighbourhood. 

That a ship canal, and not a railway, is 
what is first wanted (for very soon there will 



be both), must be obvious to all acquainted 
with the practical details of commerce. The 
delay and expense to which merchants are 
subjected, when obliged to ' break bulk ' re- 
peatedly between the port whence they sail 
and that of their destination, is extreme. The 
waste and spoiling of goods, the cost of the 
operation, are also heavy drawbacks, and to 
these they are subject by the stormy passage 
round Cape Horn. 

Two points present themselves offering 
great facilities for the execution of a ship 
canal. The one is in the immediate vicinity 
of Panama ; where the many imperfect obser- 
vations which have hitherto been made, are 
yet sufficient to leave no doubt that, as the 
distance is comparatively short, the summit 
levels are inconsiderable, and the supply of 
water ample. The other is some distance to 
the northward. The isthmus is there broader, 
but is in part occupied by the large and deep 
fresh-water lakes of Nicaragua and Naragua. 
The lake of Nicaragua communicates with the 
Atlantic by a copious river, which may eithei 
be rendered navigable, or be made the source 
of supply for a side canal. The space between 
the two lakes is of inconsiderable extent, and 
presents no great engineering difficulties. The 
elevation of the lake of Naragua above the 
Pacific is inconsiderable ; there is no hill range 
between it and the gulph of Canchagua ; and 
Captain Sir Edward Belcher carried his sur- 
veying ship Sulphur sixty miles up the Estero 
Real, which rises near the lake, and falls into 
the gulf. The line of the Panama canal pre- 
sents, as Humboldt remarks, facilities equal to 
those of the line of the Caledonian canal. The 
Nicaragua line is not more difficult than that 
of the canal of Languedoc, a work executed 
between 1660 and 1682, at a time when the 
commerce to be expedited by it did not ex- 
ceed if it equalled that which will find its 
way across the Isthmus ; when great part of 
the maritime country was as thinly inhabited 
by as poor a population as the Isthmus now 
is ; and when the last subsiding storms of 
civil war, and the dragonnades of Louis XIV., 
unsettled men's minds and made person and 
property insecure. 

The cosmopolitan effects of such an under- 
taking, if prosecuted to a successful close, it is 
impossible even approximatively to estimate. 
The acceleration it will communicate to the 
already rapid progress of civilisation in the 
Pacific is obvious. And no less obvious are 
the beneficial effects it will have upon the 
mutual relations of civilised states, seeing that 
the recognition of the independence and neu- 
trality in times of general war of the canal 
and the region through which it passes, is 
indispensable to its establishment. 

We have dwelt principally on the commer- 
cial, the economical considerations of the 
enterprise, for they are what must render it 
possible. But the friends of Christian mis- 
sions, and the advocates of Universal Peace 
among nations, have yet a deeper interest in 



68 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



Conducted br 



it. In the words used by Prince Albert at the 
dinner at the Mansion House respecting the 
forthcoming great Exhibition of Arts and 
Industry, ' Nobody who has paid any atten- 
tion to the particular features of our present 
era, will doubt for a moment that we are 
living at a period of most wonderful transi- 
tion, which tends rapidly to accomplish that 
great end to which indeed all history points 
the realisation of the unity of mankind. 
Not a unity which breaks down the limits and 
levels the peculiar characteristics of the dif- 
ferent nations of the earth, but rather a unity 
the result and product of those very national 
varieties and antagonistic qualities. The 
distances which separated- the different nations 
and parts of the globe are gradually vanishing 
before the achievements of modern invention, 
and we can traverse them with incredible 
speed ; the languages of all nations are known, 
and their acquirements placed within the 
reach of everybody ; thought is communicated 
with the rapidity, and even by the power of 
lightning.' 

Every short cut across the globe brings man 
in closer communion with his distant brother- 
hood, and results in concord, prosperity, and 
peace. 



THE TRUE STORY OF A COAL FIRE. 

IN FOUR CHAPTERS. CHAPTER II. 

DOWN the lower shaft the young man con- 
tinued to descend in silence and darkness. 
He did not know if he descended slowly or 
rapidly. The sense of motion had become 
quite indefinite. There was a horrible 
feathery ease about it, as though he were 
being softly taken down to endless darkness, 
with an occasional tantalising waft upwards, 
and then a lower descent, which made his 
whole soul sink within him. But he grasped 
the chain in front of him with all his remain- 
ing force, as his only hold on this world 
which in fact it was. 

From this condition of helpless dismay and 
apprehension, poor Flashley was suddenly 
aroused by a violent and heavy bump on the 
top of his iron umbrella ! He thought it 
must be some falling miner, or perhaps his 

Eonderous-footed elfin abductor, who had 
:aped down after him. It was only the 
accidental fall of a loose brick from above, 
somewhere ; but the dead bang of the sound, 
corning upon the previous silence, was tre- 
mendous. The missile shot off slanting from 
the iron umbrella seemed to dash its brains 
out against the side of the shaft and then flew 
down before him, like a lost soul. 

Flashley now felt a wavering motion in his 
descent, while an increasing current of air 
rose to meet him ; and almost immediately 
after, he heard strange and confused sounds 
beneath. Looking down into the darkness, 
he not only saw a reddening light, but, as he 
stared down, it became brighter, until he saw 



the gleam of flames issuing from one side of 
the shaft. He fully expected to descend into 
the midst, and ' there an end ;' but he speedily 
found he was reserved for some other fate. 
The fire was placed in a large chasm, and 
appeared to have a steep red pathway sloping 
away behind it. He passed it safely. From 
this moment he felt no current of air, but his 
ears were assailed with a variety of noises, in 
Avhich he could distinguish the gush of waters, 
the lumbering of wood, the clank and jar of 
chains, and the voices of men or something 
worse. Three black figures were distinctly 
visible. 

In a few seconds more, his feet touched 
earth which seemed to give a heave, in 
answer. His descent from the upper surface 
had not occupied longer time than has been 
necessary to describe it, but this was greatly 
magnified to his imagination by the number, 
novelty, and force of the emotions and 
thoughts that had attended it. He was now 
at the bottom of the William Pitt Coal Mine, 
nine hundred and thirty feet below the surface 
of the earth. 

A man all black with coal-dust, and naked 
from the waist upwards, took hold of Flashley, 
and extricating him from the chain girdle and 
iron umbrella, led him away into the dark- 
ness, lighted only by a candle stuck in a 
lump of clay which his conductor held in the 
other hand. 

Over all the various sounds, that of rushing 
waters predominated at this spot ; and very 
soon they turned an angle which enabled 
Flashley to descry a black torrent spouting 
from a narrow chasm, and rushing down a 
precipitous gully on one side of them to 
seek some still lower abyss. Another angle 
was turned ; the torrent was no longer seen 
and its noise grew fainter almost at every 
step. 

The passage through which they were 
advancing was cut out of the solid coal. It 
was just high enough for the man to walk 
upright, though with the danger of striking 
his head occasionally against some wedge of 
rock, stone, or block of coal, projected down- 
wards from the roof. In width the sides 
could be reached by the man's extended hands. 
They were sometimes supported by beams, 
and sometimes by a wall of brick, and the 
roof was frequently sustained by upright 
timbers, and limbs or trunks of trees. In 
one place, where the roofing had evidently i 
sunk, there stood an irregular row of stunted 
oak trunks, of grotesque shapes and shadows, 
many of which were cracked and gaping in 
ragged flaws from the crushing pressure they 
had resisted ; showing that, without them, 
the roof would certainly have fallen, and 
rendering the passage more ' suggestive ' than 
agreeable to a stranger beneath. Here and 
there, at considerable distances, candles stuck 
in clay were set in gaps of the coaly walls, in 
the sandstone, or against the logs and trunks. 
The pathway was for the most part a slush of 



Charles Dickens. J 



THE TRUE STORY OF A COAL FIRE. 



coal-dust, mixed with mud and slates, varied 
with frequent nobs and snaggs of rock and 
iron-stone. In this path of intermittent in- 
gredients, a tram-road had been established, 
the rails of which had been laid down at not 
more than 15 inches asunder ; and moving 
above this at no great distance, Flashley now 
saw a dull vapoury light, and next descried a 
horse emerging from the darkness a-head of 
them. It seemed clear that nothing could 
save them from being run over, unless they 
could run over the horse. However, his 
guide made him stand with his back flat 
against one side of the passage and presently 
the long, hot, steamy body of the horse moved 
by, just moistening his face and breast in 
passing. He had never before thought a 
horse's body was so long. At the creature's 
heels a little low black waggon followed with 
docility. The wheels were scarcely six inches 
high. Its sides were formed by little black 
rails. It was full of coals. A boy seemed to be 
driving, whose voice was heard on the other 
side of the horse, or else from beneath the 
animal's body, it was impossible to know 
which. 

They had not advanced much further when 
they came to a wooden barricade, which 
appeared to close their journey abruptly. 
But it proved to be a door, and swung open 
of its own accord as they approached. No 
sooner were they through, than the door again 
closed, apparently of its own careful good will 
and pleasure. The road was still through 
cuttings in the solid coal, varied occasionally 
with a few yards of red sand-stone, or with 
brick walls and timbers as previously de- 
scribed. Other horses drawing little black 
coal-waggons were now encountered ; some- 
times two horses drawing two or more 
waggons, and these passed by in the same 
unpleasant proximity. More Sesame doors 
were also opened and shut as before ; but 
Flashley at length perceived that "this was 
not effected by any process of the black art, as 
he had imagined, but by a very little and very 
lonely imp, who was planted behind the door in 
a toad-squat, and on this latter occasion was 
honoured by his guide with the title of an 
' infernal small trapper] in allusion to some 
neglect of duty on a previous occasion. It was, 
in truth, a poor child of nine years of age, one 
of the victims of poverty, of bad parents, and 
the worst management, to whose charge the 
safety of the whole mine, with the lives of all 
witliin it, was committed ; the requisite venti- 
lation depending on the careful closing of these 
doors by the trapper-boys, after anybody has 
passed. 

Proceeding in this way, they arrived at a 
side-working close upon the high-road, in 
which immense ledges of rocks and stones 
projected from the roof, being embedded in 
the coal. In cutting away the coal there was 
danger of loosening and bringing down some 
of these stones, which might crush the miners 
working beneath. A ' council ' was now 



being held at the entrance, where seven 
experienced ' undergoers ' were lying flat on 
the ground, smoking, with wise looks, in 
Indian fashion, and considering the best 
mode of attack, whereby they might bring 
down the coals without being ' mashed up ' 
by the premature fall of the rocks and stones 
together with the black masses in which they 
were embedded. 

Among all the gloomy and oppressive 
feelings induced by this journey between 
dismal walls faintly lighted, at best, so as to 
display a most forbidding succession of ugly 
shadows and grotesque outlines and some- 
times not lighted at all for a quarter of a mile ; 
there was nothing more painful than the long 
pauses of silence ; a silence only broken by 
the distant banging of the trappers' doors, or 
by an avalanche of coal in some remote 
working. After advancing in a silence of 
longer duration than any that had preceded 
it, Flashley's dark conductor paused every 
now and then, and listened then advanced ; 
then stopped again thoughtfully, and listened. 
At length he stopped with gradual paces, and 
turning to Flashley, said in a deep tone, the 
calmness of which added solemnity to the 
annou ncement, 

' We are now walking beneath the bed of 
the sea ! and ships are sailing over our 
heads ! ' 

Several horses and waggons were met and 
passed after the fashion already described. 
On one occasion, the youth who drove the 
horse, walked in front, waving his candle in 
the air, and causing it" to gleam upon a black 
pool in a low chasm on one side, which would 
otherwise have been invisible. He was totally 
without clothing, and of a fine symmetrical 
form, like some young Greek charioteer doing 
penance on the borders of Lethe for careless 
driving above ground. As he passed the pool 
of water, he stooped with his candle. Innu- 
merable bubbles of gas were starting to the 
surface. The instant the flame touched them, 
they gave forth sparkling explosions, and 
remained burning with a soft blue gleam. It 
continued visible a long time, and gave the 
melancholy idea of some spirit, once beautiful, 
which had gone astray, and was for ever 
lost to its native region. It was as though 
the youth had written his own history in 
symbol, before he passed away into utter 
darkness. 

' You used to be fond,' observed Flashley's 
companion, with grim ironical composure, 
after one of these close encounters with horse- 
flesh ' You used to be fond of horses.' 

Flashley made no reply, beyond a kind of 
half-suppressed groan of fatigue and annoyance. 

' Well, then,' said the other, appearing to 
understand the smothered groan as an acqui 
escence ' we will go and look at the stables; 

He turned off at the next corner on the 
left, and led the way up a narrow and steep 
path of broken brick and sandstone, till they 
arrived at a bank of rock and coal, up which 



70 



HOUSEHOLD WOKDS. 



they had to clamber, Flashley's guide inform- 
ing him that it would .save a mile of circuitous 
path. Arriving at the top, they soon came to 
a narrow door, somewhat higher than any 
they had yet seen. It opened l>y a long iron 
latch, and they entered the ' mine st, 

A strong liot steam and most oppressive 
odour of horses, many of whom were asleep 
and snoring, was the first impression. The 
second, was a sepulchral Davy-lamp hanging 
from the roof, whose dull glenm just managed 
to display the uplifting of a head and inquir- 
ing ears in one place, the contemptuous whisk- 
ing of a tail in another, and a large eye-ball 
gleaming through the darkness, in another ! 
The stalls were like a succession of narrow 
black dens, at each side of a pathway of broken 
brick and sand. In this way sixty or seventy 
horses were ' stabled.' 

' This is a prince of a mine ! ' said tha guide ; 
' we have seven hundred people down here, 
and a hundred and fifty horses.' 

They emerged at the opposite end, which 
led up another steep path towards a shaft (for 
the mine BOW had four or five) which was 
used for the ascent and descent of horses. 
They were just in time to witness the arrival 
of a new-comer, a horse who had never before 
been in a mine. 

The animal's eyes and ears became more 
frightfully expressive, as with restless anti- 
cipatory limbs and quivering flesh he swung 
round in his descending approach to the 
earth. When his hoofs touched, he made 
a plunge. But though the band and chain 
confined liim, he appeared yet more restrained 
by the appalling blackness. He made a second 
plunge, but with the same result. He then 
stood stock-still, glared round at the black 
walls and the black faces and figures that sur- 
rounded him, and instantly fainted. 

The body of the horse was speedily dragged 
off on a sort of sledge, by a tackle. The 
business of the mine could not wait for his 
recovery. He was taken to be 'fanned.' 
Flashley of course understood this as a mine 
joke ; but it was not entirely so. A great iron 
wheel, with broad fans, was often worked ra- 
pidly in a certain place, to create a current of 
air and to drive it on towards the fire in the 
up-cast shaft, assisting by this means the ven- 
tilation of the mine ; and thither, or at all 
events, in that direction, the poor horse was 
dragged, amidst the laughter and jokes of the 
miners and the shouts and whistles of the boys. 

How silent the place became after they 
were gone ! Flashley stepped forwards to- 
wards the spot immediately beneath the 
shaft. It was much nearer to the surface 
than any of the other shafts, and the day- 
light from above-ground just managed to 
reach the bottom. Under the shaft was 
a very faint circle of sad-coloured and un- 
certain light. The palest ghost might have 
stood in the middle of it and felt ' at home.' 

The ' streets' of the mine appeared to be com- 
posed of a series of horse-ways having square 



entrances to ' workings ' at intervals on either 
side, and leading to narrow side-lane work- 
ings. Up one of these his guide now com- 
piled Flashley to advance; in order to do 
which they were both obliged to stoop very 
low ; and, before long, to kneel down and 
crawl on all-fours. While moving forward in 
this way upon the coal-dust slush, where no 
horse could draw a waggon, a poor beast of 
another kind was descried approaching with 
his load. It was in the shape of a human 
being, but not in the natural position in 
fact, it was a boy degraded to a beast, who 
with a girdle and chain was dragging a small 
coal-waggon after him. A strap was round 
his forehead, in front of which, in a tin socket, 
a lighted candle was stuck. His face was 
close to the ground. He never looked up as 
he passed.* 

These narrow side-lane passages from the 
horse-road, varied in length from a few 
fathoms, to half-a-mile and upwards ; and 
the one in which Flashley was now crawling, 
being among the longest, his impression of 
the extent of these underground streets and 
by-ways, was sufficiently painful, especially as 
he had no notion of what period he was 
doomed to wander through them. Besides, 
the difficulty of respiration, the crouching 
attitude, the heated mist, the heavy sense of 
gloomy monotony, pressed upon him as they 
continued to make their way along this dismal 
burrow. 

From this latter feeling, however, he was 
roused by a sudden and loud explosion. It 
proceeded from some remote part of the 
trench in which they were struggling, and in 
front of them. The arrival of a new sort of 
mist convinced them of this. It was so im- 
pregnated with sulphur, that Flashley felt 
nearly suffocated, and was obliged to lie down 
with his face almost touching the coal-slush 
beneath him, for half-a -minute, before he 
could recover himself. Onward, however, he 
was obliged to go, urged by his gruff com- 
panion behind ; and in this way they con- 
tinued to crawl till a dim light became visible 
at the farther end. The light came forwards. 
It proceeded from a candle stuck in the front 
of the head of a boy, harnessed to a little 
narrow waggon, who pulled in front, while 
another boy pushed with his head behind. A 
side-cutting, into which Flashley and his com- 
panion squeezed themselves, enabled the wag- 
gon to pass. The hindermost boy, stopping to 
exchange a word with his companion, Flashley 
observed that the boy's head had a bald patch 
in the hair, owing to the peculiar nature of 
his head-work behind the waggon. They 
passed, and now another distant light was 
visible ; but this remained stationary. 

As they approached it, the narrow passage 
widened into a gap, and a rugged chamber 
appeared hewn out in the coal. The sides 

* Young women and girls were also used in this way till 
the Report of the Children's Employment Commission 
caused it to be forbidden by Act of Parliament. 



Charles Dickens.] 



THE TEUE STOEY OF A COAL FIEE. 



71 



were supported by upright logs and beams ; 
and further inwards, were pillars of coal left 
standing, from which the surrounding mass 
had been cut away. At the remote end of 
this, sat the figure of a man, perfectly black 
and quite naked, working with a short- 
handled pickaxe, with which he hewed down 
coals in front of him, and from the sides, 
lighted by a single caudle stuck in clay, and 
dabbed up against a projecting block of coal. 
From the entrance to this dismal work-place, 
branched off a second passage, terminating 
in another chamber, the lower part of which 
was heaped \ip with great loose coals appa- 
rently just fallen from above. The strong 
vapour of gunpowder pervading the place, 
and curling and clinging about the roof, 
showed that a mass of coal had been under- 
mined and brought down by an explosion. 
To this smoking heap, ever and anon, came 
boys with baskets, or little waggons, which 
they filled and carried away into the narrow 
dark passage, disappearing with their loads 
as one may see black ants making off with 
booty into their little dark holes and galleries 
under ground. 

The naked miner in- the first chamber, now 
crept out to the entrance, having fastened a 
rope round the remotest logs that supported 
the roof of the den he had hewed. These he 
hauled out. He then knocked away the 
nearest ones with a great mallet. Taking a 
pole with a broad blade of iron at the end, 
edged on one side and hooked at the other, 
something like a halbert, he next cut and 
pulled away, one by one, by repeated blows 
and tugs, each of the pillars of coal which he 
had left within. A strange cracking overhead 
was presently heard. All stepped back and 
waited. The cracking ceased, and the miner 
again advanced, accompanied by Flashley's 
guide ; while, by some detestable necromancy, 
our young visitor alack ! so very lately such 
a dashing young fellow 'about town,' now 
suddenly fallen into the dreadful condition of 
receiving all sorts of knowledge about coals 
felt compelled to assist in the operation. 

Advancing with great wedges, while Flashley 
carried two large sledge hammers to be ready 
for use, the miners inserted their wedges into 
cracks in the upper part of the wall of coal 
above the long chamber that had just been 
excavated, the roof of which was now bereft 
of all internal support. They then took the 
hammers and began to drive in the wedges. 
The cracks widened, and shot about in 
branches, like some black process of crystal- 
lisation. The party retreated several paces 
one wide flaw opened above, and down came a 
hundred tons of coal in huge blocks and broad 
splinters ! The concussion of the air, and the 
flight of coal-dust, extinguished the candles. 
At this the two miners laughed loudly, and, 
pushing Flashley before them, caused him to 
crouch down on his hands and knees, and 
again creep along the low passage by which 
they had entered. A boy in harness drawing 



a little empty waggon soon approached, with 
a candle on his forehead, as usual. The 
meeting being unexpected and out of order, 
as the parties could not pass each other in 
this place, Flashley's special guide and ' tutor ' 
gave him a lift and a push, by means of which 
he was squeezed between the rough roofing 
and the upper rail of the empty waggon, into 
which he then sank down with a loud ' Oh ! ' 
His tutor now set his head to the hinder 
part of the waggon, the miner assumed the 
same position with respect to the tutor the 
boy did the same by the miner and thus, by 
reversing the action of the wheels, the little 
waggon, with its alarmed occupant, was driven 
along by this three-horse power through the 
low passage, with a reckless speed and jocu- 
larity, in which the ridiculous and hideous 
were inextricably mingled. 

Arriving at the main horse-road, as Flashley 
quickly distinguished by the wider space, 
higher roofing, and candles stuck against the 
sides, his mad persecutors never stopped, but 
increasing their speed the moment the wheels 
were set upon the rails, they drove the waggon 
onwards with yells and laughter, and now 
and then a loud discordant whistle in imita- 
tion of the wailful cry of a locomotive ; passing 
' getters,' and ' carriers,' and ' hurryers,' and 
' drawers,' and ' pushers,' and other miue- 
people, and once sweeping by an astonished 
horse gates and doors swinging open before 
them and shouts frequently being sent after 
them, sometimes of equivocal import, but 
generally not to be mistaken, by those whom 
they thus rattled by, who often received 
sundry concussions and excoriations in that so 
narrow highway beneath the earth. 

In this manner did our unique cortege pro- 
ceed, till sounds of many voices a-head of them 
were heard, and then more and more light 
gleamed upon the walls ; and the next minute 
they emerged from the road-way, and entered 
a large oblong chamber, or cavern, where 
they were received with a loud shout of sur- 
prise and merriment. It was the dining-hall 
of the mine. 

This cavern had been hewn out of the solid 
coal, with intervals of rock and sandstone here 
and there in the sides. Candles stuck in 
lumps of damp clay, were dabbed up against 
the rough walls all round. A table, formed of 
dark planks laid upon low tressels, was in the 
middle, and round this sat the miners, nearly 
naked, and far blacker than negroes, whose 
glossy skins shine with any light cast upon 
them, while these were of a dead-black, which 
gave their robust outlines and muscular limbs 
the grimness of sepulchral figures, strangely 
at variance with the boisterous vitality and 
physical capacities of their owners. These, it 
seemed, were the magnates of the mine the 
'hewers,' ' holers,' 'undergoers,' or 'pickers,' 
those who hew down the coal, and not the 
fetchers and carriers, and other small people. 

Before he had recovered from his recent 
drive through the mine, Flashley was seated 



72 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



at the table. Cold roast beef, and ham, and 
slices of cold boiled turkey were placed before 
him, with a loaf of bread, fresh dairy-butter, 
and a brown jug of porter. He was scarcely 
aware whether he ate or not, but he sunn 
began to feel much revived ; and then he saw 
ahot roast duck ; and then another ; and then 
three more ; and then a great iron dish, quite 
hot, and with flakes of lire at the bottom, full 
of roast ducks. Green peas were only just 
coming into season, and sold at a high price 
in the markets ; but here were several delphic 
dishes piled up with them ; and Flashley could 
but admire and sit amazed at the rapidity with 
which these delicate green pyramids sank 
lower and lower, as the great spoonfuls as- 
cended to the red and white open mouths of 
the jovial black visages that surrounded him. 
He was told that the 'undergoers' dined 
here every day after this fashion ; but only 
with ducks and green peas at this particular 
season, when the miners made a point of 
buying up all the green peas in the markets, 
claiming the right to have them before all 
the nobility and gentry in the neighbour- 
hood. 

While all this was yet going on, Flashley 
became aware of a voice, as of some one dis- 
coui'sing very gravely. It was like the voice 
of the Elfin who had wrought him all this 
undesired experience. But upon looking for- 
wards in the direction of the sound, he per- 
ceived that it proceeded from one of the 
miners a brawny-chested figure, who was 
making a speech. Their eyes met, and then 
it seemed that the miner was addressing 
himself expressly to poor Flashley. Something 
impelled the latter, averse as he was, to stand 
up and receive the address. 

'Young man or rather gent!' said the 
miner ' You are now in the bowels of old 
mother Earth grandmother and great 
grandmother of all these seams of coal ; and 
you see a set of men around you, whose lives 
are passed in these gloomy places, doing the 
duties of their work without repining at its 
hardness, without envying the lot of others, 
and smiling at all its clangers. We know very 
well that there are better things above ground 
and worse. We know that many men and 
women and children, who are ready to work, 
can't get it, and so starve to death, or die with 
miserable slowness. A sudden death, and a 
violent is often our fate. We may fall down 
a shaft ; something may fall upon us and 
crush us ; we may be damped to death ; * we 
may be drowned by the sudden breaking in 
of water ; we may be burned up by the wild- 
fire,t or driven before it to destruction ; in 
daily labour we lead the same lives as horses 
and other beasts of burden ; but for all that, 
we feel that we have something else within, 
which has a kind of tingling notion of heaven, 
and a God above, and which we have heard 
say is called ' the soul.' Now, tell us young 

' The clioTft-damp, carbonic acid gas. 

| Fire-damp, also called the sulphur hydrogen gas. 



master, you who have had all the advantages 
of teachers, and books, and learning among the 
people who live above ground tell us, be- 
nighted working men, liuw have you, passed 
your time, and what kind of thing is your 
soul?' 

The miner ceased speaking, but continued 
standing. Flashley stood looking at him, 
unable to utter a word. At this moment, a 
half-naked miner entered hurriedly from one 
of the main roads, shouting confused words 
to the effect that the fire which is always 
placed in the up-cast shaft to attract and draw 
up the air for the ventilation of the mine, had 
just been extinguished by the falling in of a 
great mass of coal, and the mine was no longer 
safe ! 

' Fire-damp ! ' ' The sulphur ! ' ' Choke- 
damp ! ' ejaculated many voices, as all the 
miners sprang from their seats, and made a 
rush towards the main outlet. Flashley was 
borne away in the scramble of the crowd ; but 
they had scarcely escaped from the cavern, 
when the flame of the candles ran up to the 
roof, and a loud explosion instantly followed. 
The crowd was driven pell-mell before it, 
flung up, and flung down, dashed sideways, 
or borne onwards, while explosion after ex- 
plosion followed the few who had been fore- 
most, and were still endeavouring to make 
good their retreat. 

Among these latter was Flashley, who was 
carried forwards, he knew not how, and was 
scarcely conscious of what was occurring, 
except that it was something imminently 
dreadful, which he momentarily expected to 
terminate in his destruction. 

At length only himself and one other re- 
mained. It was the miner who had been his 
companion from the first. They had reached 
a distant ' working,' and stopped an instant to 
take breath, difficult as it was to do this, both 
from the necessity of continuing their flight, 
and also from the nature of the inflammable 
air that surrounded them. Some who had 
arrived here before them, had been less for- 
tunate. Half-buried in black slush lay the 
dead body of a miner, scorched to a cinder by 
the wild-fire ; and on a broad ledge of coal 
sat another man, in an attitude of faintness, 
with one hand pressed, as with a painful effort, 
against his head. The black-damp had suffo- 
cated him : he was quite dead. 

Beyond this Flashley knew nothing until 
he found himself placed in a basket, and rising 
rapidly through the air, as he judged, by a 
certain swinging motion, and the occasional 
grating of the basket against the sides of the 
shaft. After a time he ventured to look up, 
and to his joy, not unmixed with awe, he 
discerned the mouth of the shaft above, appa- 
rently of the size of a small coffee-cup. Some 
coal-dust and drops of water fell into his eyes ; 
he saw no more ; but with a palpitating heart, 
full of emotions, and prayers, and thankful- 
. for his prospect of deliverance, continued 
his ascent. 



Publlihed *t the Office, No 16, Wellington Street North, Strand. Printed oy BRAD.LHY & EVASS. Whitefriars, London. 



" Familiar in their Mouths as HOUSEHOLD WORDS." SHAKESPEARE. 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS 

A WEEKLY JOURNAL. 
CONDUCTED BY CHARLES DICKENS. 



SATURDAY, APEIL 20, 1850. 



[PRICE 2<Z. 



SOME ACCOUNT OF AN EXTRA- 
ORDINARY TRAVELLER. 



No longer ago than this Easter time last 
past, we became acquainted with the subject 
of the present notice. Our knowledge of him 
is not by any means an intimate one, and is 
only of a public nature. We have never in- 
terchanged any conversation with him, except 
on one occasion when he asked us to have the 
goodness to take off our hat, to which we 
replied ' Certainly.' 

MR. BOOLEY was born (we believe) in Rood 
Lane, in the City of London. He is now a 
gentleman advanced in life, and has for some 
years resided in the neighbourhood of Isling- 
ton. ' His father was a wholesale grocer (per- 
haps), and he was (possibly) in the same way 
of business ; or he may, at an early age, have 
become a clerk in the Bank of England, or in 
n, private bank, or in the India House. It will 
be observed that we make no pretence of hav- 
ing any information in reference to the pri- 
vate history of this remarkable man, and that 
our account of it must be received as rather 
speculative than authentic. 

In person ME. BOOLEY is below the middle 
size, and corpulent. His countenance is florid, 
he is perfectly bald, and soon hot ; and there 
is a composure in his gait and manner, calcu- 
lated to impress a stranger with the idea of 
his being, on the whole, an unwieldy man. It 
is only in his eye that the adventurous cha- 
racter of ME. BOOLEY is seen to shine. It is 
a moist, bright eye, of a cheerful expression, 
and indicative of keen and eager curiosity. 

It was not until late in life that MR. BOOLEY 
conceived the idea of entering on the extra- 
ordinary amount of travel he has since accom- 
plished. He had attained the age of sixty- 
five, before he left England for the first time. 
In all the immense journies he has since per- 
formed, he has never laid aside the English 
dress, nor departed in the slightest degree 
from English customs. Neither does he speak 
a word of any language but his qwn. 

ME. BOOLEY'S powers of endurance are 
wonderful. All climates are alike to him. 
Nothing exhausts him ; no alternations of 
heat and cold appear to have the least effect 
upon his hardy frame. His capacity of travel- 
ling, day and night, for thousands of miles, 
has never been approached by any traveller 



of whom we have any knowledge trough the 
help of books. An intelligent Englishman 
may have occasionally pointed out to him 
objects and scenes of interest ; but otherwise 
he has travelled alone, and unattended. 
Though remarkable for personal cleanliness, 
he has carried no luggage ; and his diet has 
been of the simplest kind. He has often found 
a biscuit, or a bun, sufficient for his support 
over a vast tract of country. Frequently, he 
has travelled hundreds of miles, fasting, with- 
out the least abatement of his natural spirits. 
It says much for the Total Abstinence cause, 
that ME. BOOLEY has never had recourse to 
the artificial stimulus of alcohol, to sustain 
him under his fatigues. 

His first departure from the sedentary and 
monotonous life he had hitherto led, strikingly 
exemplifies, we think, the energetic character, 
long suppressed by that unchanging routine. 
Without any communication with any mem- 
ber of his family MR. BOOLEY has never been 
married, but has many relations without 
announcing his intention to his solicitor, or 
banker, or any person entrusted with the 
management of his affairs, he closed the door 
of his house behind hini at one o'clock in the 
afternoon of a certain day, and immediately 
proceeded to New Orleans, in the United 
States of America. 

His intention was to ascend the Mississippi 
and Missouri rivers, to the base of the Rocky 
Mountains. Taking his passage in a steam- 
boat without loss of time, he was soon upon 
the bosom of the Father of Waters, as the 
Indians call the mighty stream which, night 
and day, is always carrying huge instalments 
of the vast continent of the New World, down 
into the sea. 

ME. BOOLEY found it singularly interesting 
to observe the various stages of civilisation 
obtaining on the banks of these mighty 
rivers. Leaving the luxury and brightness of 
New Orleans a somewhat feverish luxury 
and brightness, he observed, as if the swampy 
soil were too much enriched in the hot sun with 
the bodies of dead slaves and passing various 
towns in every stage of progress, it was very 
curious to observe the changes of civilisation 
and of vegetation too. Here, where the doomed 
Ne<*ro race were working in the plantations, 
while the republican overseer looked on, whip 
in hand, tropical trees were growing, beautiful 



VOL. i. 



74 



HOUSEHOLD WOEDS. 



[Conducted by 



flowers in bloom ; the alligator, with his hor- 
. ribly sly face, and his jaws like two great 
I basking on the mud ; and the strange 
moss of the country was hanging in wreaths 
and garlands on the trees, like votive offerings. 
A little farther towards the west, and the 
trees and flowers were changed, the moss was 
gone, younger infant towns were rising, forests 
were slowly disappearing, and the trees, 
obliged to aid in the destruction of their kind, 
fed the heavily-breathing monster that came 
clanking up those solitudes, laden with the 
pioneers of the advancing human army. The 
river itself, that moving highway, showed him 
every kind of floating contrivance, from the 
lumbering flat-bottomed boat, and the raft of 
logs, upward to the steamboat, and downward 
to the poor Indian's frail canoe. A winding 
thread through the enormous range of country, 
unrolling itself before the wanderer like the 
magic skein in the story, he saw it tracked by 
wanderers of every kind, roaming from the 
more settled world, to those first nests of men. 
The floating theatre, dwelling-house, hotel, 
museum, shop ; the floating mechanism for 
screwing the trunks of mighty trees out of the 
mud, like antediluvian teeth ; the rapidly- 
flowing river, and the blazing woods ; he left 
them all behind town, city, and log-cabin, 
too ; and floated up into the prairies and savan- 
nahs, among the deserted lodges of tribes of 
savages, and among their dead, lying alone on 
little wooden stages with their stark faces up- 
ward towards the sky. Among the blazing 
grass, and herds of buffaloes and wild horses, 
and among the wigwams of the fast-declining 
Indians, he began to consider how, in the 
eternal current of progress setting across 
this globe in one unchangeable direction, 
like the unseen agency that points the needle 
to the pole, the Chiefs who only dance the 
dances of their fathers, and will never have a 
new figure for a new tune, and the Medicine- 
men who know no Medicine but what was 
Medicine a hundred years ago, must be surely 
and inevitably swept from the earth, whether 
they be Choctawas, Man dans, Britons, Aus- 
trians, or Chinese. 

He was struck, too, by the reflection that 
savage nature was not by any means such a 
fine and noble spectacle as some delight to 
represent it. He found it a poor, greasy, 
paint-plastered, miserable thing enough ; but 
a very little way above the beasts in most 
respects ; in many customs a long way below 
them. It occurred to him that the ' Big Bird,' 
or the ' Blue Fish,' or any of the other Braves, 
was but a troublesome braggart after all ; 
making a mighty whooping and holloaing 
about nothing particular, doing very little for 
science, not much more than the monkeys for 
art, scarcely anything worth mentioning for 
letters, and not often making the world greatly 
better than he found it. Civilisation, MR. 
BOOLEY concluded, was, on the whole, with .'ill 
its blemishes, a more imposing sight, and a far 
better thing to stand by. 



MR. BOOLEY'S observations of the celestial 
bodies, on this voyage, were principally con- 
fined to the discovery of the alarming fact, 
that light had altogether departed from the 
moon ; which presented the appearance of a 
white dinner-plate. The clouds, too, conducted 
themselves in an extraordinary manner, and 
assumed the most eccentric forms, while the 
sun rose and set in a very reckless way. On 
his return to his native country, however, he 
had tin; satisfaction of finding all these things 
as iisual. 

It might have been expected that at his 
advanced age, retired from the active duties 
of life, blest with a competency, and happy in 
the affections of his numerous relations, 
MR. BOOLEY woxild now have settled himself 
down, to muse, for the remainder of his days, 
over the new stock of experience thus ac- 
quired. But travel had whetted, not satisfied, 
his appetite ; and remembering that he had 
not seen the Ohio river, except at the point of 
its junction with the Mississippi, he returned 
to the United States, after a short interval of 
repose, and appearing suddenly at Cincinnati, 
the queen City of the West, traversed the clear 
waters of the Ohio to its Falls. In this expe- 
dition he had the pleasure of encountering a 
party of intelligent workmen from Birming- 
ham who were making the same tour. Also 
his nephew Septimus, aged only thirteen. 
This intrepid boy had started from Peckham, 
in the old country, with two and sixpence 
sterling in his pocket ; and had, when he en- 
countered his uncle at a point of the Ohio 
Eiver, called Snaggy Bar, still one shilling of 
that sum remaining ! 

Again at home, MR. BOOLEY was so pressed 
by his appetite for knowledge as to remain at 
home only one day. At the expiration of 
that short period, he actually started for -New 
Zealand. 

It is almost incredible that a man in MR. 
BOOLEY'S station of life, however adventurous 
his nature, and however few his artificial 
wants, should cast himself on a voyage of 
thirteen thousand miles from Great Britain 
with no other outfit than his watch and purse, 
and no arms but his walking-stick. We are, 
however, assured on the best authority, that 
thus he made the passage out, and thus ap- 
peared, in the act of wiping his smoking head 
with his pocket-handkerchief, at the entrance 
to Port Nicholson in Cook's Straits : with the 
very spot within his range of vision, \vhere 
his illustrious predecessor, Captain Cook, so 
unhappily slain at Owyhee, once anchored. 

After contemplating the swarms of cattle 
maintained on the hills in this neighbourhood, 
and always to be found by the stockmen 
when they are wanted, though nobody takes 
any care of them which MR. BOOLEY con- 
sidered the more remarkable, as their natural 
objection to be killed might be supposed to 
be augmented by the beauty of the climate 
Aiit. BOOLFY proceeded to the town of Wel- 
lington. Having minutely examined it in 



Charles Dickens.] SOME ACCOUNT OF AN EXTEAOEDINAEY TEAVELLEE. 



75 



every point, and made himself perfect master 
of the whole natural history and process of 
manufacture of the flax-plant, with its splen- 
did yellow blossoms, he repaired to a Native 
Pa, which, unlike the Native Pa to which he 
was accustomed, he found to be a town, and 
not a parent. Here he observed a Chief 
with a long spear, making every demonstra- 
tion of spitting a visitor, but really giving 
him the Maori or welcome a word MR. 
BOOLEY is inclined to derive from the known 
hospitality of our English Mayors and here 
also he observed some Europeans rubbing 
noses, by way of shaking hands, with the 
aboriginal inhabitants. After participating in 
an affray between the natives and the English 
soldiery, in which the former were defeated 
with great loss, he plunged into the Bush, 
and there camped out for some months, until 
he had made a survey of the whole country. 

While leading this wild life, encamped by 
night near a stream for the convenience of 
water, in a Ware, or hut, built open in the 
front, with a roof sloping backward to the 
ground, and made of poles, covered and en- 
closed with bark or fern, it was MR. BOOLEY'S 
singular fortune to encounter Miss Creeble. 
of The Misses Creebles' Boarding and Day 
Establishment for Young Ladies, Kennington 
Oval, who, accompanied by three of her young 
ladies in search of information, had achieved 
this marvellous journey, and was then also in 
the Bush. Miss Creeble having very unset- 
tled opinions on the subject of gunpowder, 
was afraid that it entered into the composition 
of the fire before the tent, and that some- 
thing would presently blow up or go off. 
MR. BOOLEY, as a more experienced traveller, 
assuring her that there was no danger ; and 
calming the fears of the young ladies, an 
acquaintance commenced between them. They 
accomplished the rest of their travels in New 
Zealand together, and the best understanding 
prevailed among the little party. They took 
notice of the trees, as the Kaikatea, the Kauri, 
the Euta, the Pukatea, the Hinan, and the 
Tanakaka names which Miss Creeble had 
a bland relish in pronouncing. They admired 
the beautiful, arborescent, palm-like fern, 
abounding everywhere, and frequently exceed- 
ing thirty feet in height. They wondered at 
the curious owl, who is supposed to demand 
' More Pork ! ' wherever he flies, and whom 
Miss Creeble termed ' an admonition of Na- 
ture's against greediness ! ' And they contem- 
plated some very rampant natives, of cannibal 
propensities. After many pleasing and instruc- 
tive vicissitudes, they returned to England in 
company, where the ladies were safely put 
into a hackney cabriolet by MR. BOOLEY, in 
Leicester Square, London. 

And now, indeed, it might have been ima- 
gined that that roving spirit, tired of rambling 
about the world, would have settled down at 
home in peace and honor. Not so. After 
repairing to the tubular bridge across the 
Menai Straits, and accompanying Her Majesty 



on her visit to Ireland (which he characterised 
as ' a magnificent Exhibition'), MR. BOOLEY, 
with his usual absence of preparation, de- 
parted for Australia. 

Here again, he lived out in the Bush, pass- 
ing his time chiefly among the working-gangs 
of convicts who were carrying timber. He 
was much impressed by the ferocious mastiffs 
chained to barrels, who assist the sentries in 
keeping guard over those misdoers. But he 
observed that the atmosphere in this part of 
the world, unlike the descriptions he had 
read of it, was extremely thick, and that 
objects were misty, and difficult to be dis- 
cerned. From a certain unsteadiness and 
trembling, too, which he frequently remarked 
on the face of Nature, he was led to conclude 
that this part of the globe was subject to 
convulsive heavings and earthquakes. This 
caused him to return, with some precipitation. 

Again at home, and probably reflecting that 
the countries he had hitherto visited were 
new in the history of man, this extraordinary 
traveller resolved to proceed up the Nile to 
the second cataract. At the next perform- 
ance of the great ceremony of ' opening the 
Nile,' at Cairo, Mr. BOOLEY was present. 

Along that wonderful river, associated with 
such stupendous fables, and with a history more 
prodigious than any fancy of man, in its vast 
and gorgeous facts ; among temples, palaces, 
pyramids, colossal statues, crocodiles, tombs, 
obelisks, mummies, sand and ruin ; he pro- 
ceeded, like an opium-eater in a mighty dream. 
Thebes rose before him. An avenue of two 
hundred sphinxes, with not a head among 
them, one of six or eight, or ten such 
avenues, all leading to a common centre, 
conducted to the Temple of Carnak : its 
walls, eighty feet high and twenty-five feet 
thick, a mile and three-quarters in circum- 
ference ; the interior of its tremendous hall, 
occupying an area of forty-seven thousand 
square feet, large enough to hold four great 
Christian churches, and yet not more than 
one-seventh part of the entire ruin. Obelisks 
he saw, thousands of years of age, as sharp as 
if the chisel had cut their edges yesterday ; 
colossal statues fifty-two feet high, with 'little ' 
fingers five feet and a half long ; a very world 
of ruins, that were marvellous old ruins in the 
days of Herodotus ; tombs cut high up in the 
rock, where European travellers live solitary, 
as in stony crows' nests, burning mummied 
Thebans, gentle and simple, of the dried 
blood-royal maybe, for their daily fuel, and 
making articles of furniture of their dusty 
coffins. Upon the walls of temples, in colors 
fresh and bright as those of yesterday, he 
read the conquests of great Egyptian mo- 
narchs ; upon the tombs of humbler people 
in the same blooming symbols, he saw their 
ancient way of working at their trades, of 
riding, driving, feasting, playing games ; of 
marrying and burying, and performing on in- 
struments, and singing songs, and healing by 
the power of animal magnetism, and performing 



76 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Competed by 



all the occupations of life. He visited the 
quarries of Silsileh, whence nearly all the red 
stone used by the ancient Egyptian archi- 
tects and sculptors came ; and there beheld 
enormous single-stoned colossal figures nearly 
finished redly snowed up, as it were, and trying 
hard to break out waiting for the finishing 
touches, never to be given by the mummied 
1 lands of thousands of years ago. In front 
of the temple of Abou Simbel, he saw gigantic 
figures sixty feet in height and twenty-one 
across the shoulders, dwarfing live men on 
camels down to pigmies. Elsewhere he be- 
held complacent monsters tumbled down like 
ill-used Dolls of a Titanic make, and staring 
with stupid benignity at the arid earth where- 
on their huge faces rested. His last look of 
that amazing land was at the Great Sphinx, 
buried in the sand sand in its eyes, sand in 
its ears, sand drifted on its broken nose, sand 
lodging, feet deep, in the ledges of its head 
struggling out of a wide sea of sand, as if to 
look hopelessly forth for the ancient glories 
once surrounding it. 

In this expedition, MR. BOOLEY acquired 
some curious information in reference to the 
language of hieroglyphics. He encountered the 
Simoom in the Desert, and lay down, with the 
rest of his caravan, until it had passed over. He 
also beheld on the horizon some of those stalk- 
ing pillars of sand, apparently reaching from 
earth to heaven, which, with the red sun shining 
through them, so terrified the Arabs attendant 
on Bruce, that they fell prostrate, crying that 
the Day of Judgment was come. More Copts, 
Turks, Arabs, Fellahs, Bedouins, Mosques, 
Mamelukes, and Moosuhnen he saw, than we 
have space to tell. His days were all Arabian 
Nights, and he saw wonders without end. 

This might have satiated any ordinary man, 
for a time at least. But MR. BOOLEY, being no 
ordinary man, within twenty-four hours of his 
arrival at home was making The Overland 
Journey to India. 

He has emphatically described this, as ' a 
beautiful piece of scenery,' and ' a perfect pic- 
ture.' The appearance of Malta and Gibraltar 
he can never sufficiently commend. In cross- 
ing the Desert from Grand Cairo to Suez, 
he was particularly struck by the undulations 
of the Sandscape (he preferred that word to 
Landscape, as more expressive of the region), 
and by the incident of beholding a caravan 
upon its line of march ; a spectacle which in 
the remembrance always affords him the 
utmost pleasure. Of the stations on the 
Desert, and the cinnamon gardens of Ceylon, 
he likewise entertains a lively recollection. 
Calcutta he praises also ; though he has been 
heard to observe that the British military at 
that seat of Government were not as well pro- 
portioned as he could desire the soldiers of his 
country to be ; and that the breed of horses there 
in use was susceptible of some improvement. 

Once more in his native land, with the 
vigor of his constitution unimpaired by the 
many toils and fatigues he had encountered, 



what had MR. BOOLEY now to do, but, full of 
years and honor, to recline upon the grateful 
appreciation of his Queen and country, always 
eager to distinguish peaceful merit ? What 
had he now to do, but to receive the decora- 
tion ever ready to be bestowed, in England, 
on men deservedly distinguished, and to take 
his ]>lace among the best ? He had this to do. 
He had yet to achieve the most astonishing 
enterprise for which he was reserved. In all 
the countries he had yet visited, he had .si vii 
no frost and snow. He resolved to make ti 
voyage to the ice-bound Arctic Regions. 

In pursuance of this surprising determina- 
tion, MR. BOOLEY accompanied the Expedition 
under Sir James Ross, consisting of Her 
Majesty's ships, the Enterprise and Investi- 
gator, which sailed from the river Thames on 
the 12th of May, 1848, and which, on the llth 
of September, entered Port Leopold Harbor. 

In this inhospitable region, surrounded by 
eternal ice, cheered by no glimpse of the sun, 
shrouded in gloom and darkness, MR. BOOLEY 
passed the entire winter. The ships were 
covered in, and fortified all round with walls 
of ice and snow ; the masts were frozen up ; 
hoar frost settled on the yards, tops, shrouds, 
stays, and rigging ; around, in every direction, 
lay an interminable waste, on which only the 
bright stars, the yellow moon, and the vivid 
Aurora Borealis looked, by night or day. 

And yet the desolate sublimity of this 
astounding spectacle was broken in a pleasant 
and surprising manner. In the remote soli- 
tude to which he had penetrated, MR. BOOLEY 
(who saw no Esquimaux during his stay, 
though he looked for them in every direction) 
had the happiness of encountering two Scotch 
gardeners ; several English compositors, ac- 
companied by their wives ; three brass 
founders from the neighbourhood of Long Acre, 
London ; two coach painters, a gold-beater 
and his only daughter, by trade a stay-maker ; 
and several other working-people from sundry 
parts of Great Britain who had conceived 
the extraordinary idea of ' holiday-making ' 
in the frozen wilderness. Hither too, had 
Miss Creeble and her three young ladies 
penetrated : the latter attired in braided pea- 
coats of a comparatively light material ; and 
Miss Creeble defended from the inclemency 
of a Polar Winter by no other outer garment 
than a wadded Polka-jacket. He found this 
courageous lady in the act of explaining, to 
the youthful sharers of her toils, the various 
phases of nature by which, they were sur- 
rounded. Her explanations were principally 
wrong, but her intentions always admirable. 

Cheered by the society of these fellow- ad- 
venturers, MR. BOOLEY slowly glided on into 
the summer season. And now, at midnight, 
all was bright and shining. Mountains of ice, 
wedged and broken into the strangest forms 
jagged points, spires, pinnacles, pyramid:?, 
turrets, columns in endless succession and in 
infinite variety, flashing and sparkling with 
ten thousand hues, as though the treasures ol 



LOADED DICE. 



77 



the earth were frozen up in all that water 
appeared on every side. Masses of ice, float- 
ing and driving hither and thither, menaced 
the hardy voyagers with destruction; and 
threatened to crush their strong ships, like 
nutshells. But, below those ships was clear 
sea-water, now ; the fortifying walls were 
gone ; the yards, tops, shrouds and rigging, 
free from that hoary rust of long inaction, 
showed like themselves again ; and the sails, 
bursting from the masts, like foliage which 
the welcome sun at length developed, spread 
themselves to the wind, and wafted the 
travellers away. 

In the short interval that has elapsed since 
his safe return to the land of his birth, MR. 
BOOLEY has decided on no new expedition ; 
but he feels that he will yet be called upon to 
undertake one, perhaps of greater magnitude 
than any he has achieved, and frequently 
remarks, in his own easy way, that he won- 
ders where the deuce he will be taken to next ! 
Possessed of good health and good spirits, 
with powers unimpaired by all he has gone 
through, and with an increase of appetite still 
growing with what it feeds on, what may not 
be expected yet from this extraordinary man ! 

It was only at the close of Easter week that, 
sitting in an arm chair, at a private Club 
called the Social Oysters, assembling at High- 
bury Barn, where he is much respected, this 
indefatigable traveller expressed himself in 
the following terms : 

'It is very gratifying to me,' said he, 'to 
have seen so much at my time of life, and to 
have acquired a knowledge of the countries 
I have visited, which I could not have de- 
rived from books alone. When I was a boy, 
such travelling would have been impossible, 
as the gigantic-moving-panorama or dio- 
rama mode of conveyance, which I have 
principally adopted (all my modes of con- 
veyance have been pictorial), had then not 
been attempted. It is a delightful cha- 
racteristic of these times, that new and 
cheap means are continually being devised, 
for conveying the results of actual experience, 
to those who are unable to obtain such ex- 
periences for themselves ; and to bring them 
within the reach of the people emphatically 
of the people ; for it is they at large who are 
addressed in these endeavours, and not ex- 
clusive audiences. Hence,' said MR. BOOLEY, 
' even if I see a run on an idea, like the 
panorama one, it awakens no ill-humour 
within me, but gives me pleasant thoughts. 
Some of the best results of actual travel are 
suggested by such means to those whose 
lot it is to stay at home. New worlds open 
out to them, beyond their little worlds, and 
widen their range of reflection, information, 
sympathy, and interest. The more man knows 
of mail, the better for the common brother- 
hood among us all. I shall, therefore,' said 
MR. BOOLEY, 'nowpropose to the Social Oysters 
the healths of Mr. Banvard, Mr. Brees. Mr. 
Phillips, Mr. Allen, Mr. Prout, Messrs. 



Bonomi, Fahey, and Warren, Mr. Thomas 
Grieve, and Mr. Burford. Long life to them 
all, and more power to their pencils ! ' 

The Social Oysters having drunk this 
toast with acclamation, MR. BOOLEY pro- 
ceeded to entertain them with anecdotes of 
his travels. This he is in the habit of doing 
after they have feasted together, according to 
the manner of Sinbad the Sailor except that 
he does not bestow upon the Social Oysters 
the munificent reward of one hundred sequins 
per night, for listening. 



LOADED DICE. 



SEVERAL years ago I made a tour through 
some of the Southern Counties of England 
with a friend. We travelled in an open car- 
riage, stopping for a few hours a day, or a 
week, as it might be, wherever there was any 
thing to be seen : and we generally got through 
one stage before breakfast, because it gave our 
horses rest, and ourselves the chance of enjoy- 
ing the brown bread, new milk, and fresh eggs 
of those country roadside inns, which are fast 
becoming subjects for archaeological inves- 
tigation. 

One evening my friend said, 'To-morrow, 
we will breakfast at T . I want to inquire 
about a family named Lovell, who used to live 
there. I met the husband and wife and two 
lovely children, one summer at Exmouth. 
We became very intimate, and I thought them 
particularly interesting people, but I have 
never seen them since.' 

The next morning's sun shone as brightly 
as heart could desire, and after a delightful 
drive, we reached the outskirts of the town 
about nine o'clock. 

' Oh, what a pretty inn ! ' said I, as we ap- 
proached a small white house, with a sign 
swinging in front of it, and a flower-garden on 
one side. 

' Stop, John,' cried my friend, ' we shall 
get a much cleaner breakfast here than in the 
town, I dare say ; and if there is anything to be 
seen there, we can walk to it ; ' so we alighted, 
and were shown into ft neat little parlour, 
with white curtains, where an unexceptionable 
rural breakfast was soon placed before us. 

' Pray do you happen to know anything of 
a family called Lovell 1 ' inquired my friend, 
whose name, by the way, was Markham. ' Mr. 
Lovell was a clergyman. ' 

'Yes, Ma'am,' answered the girl who at- 
tended us, apparently the landlord's daughter, 
' Mr. Lovell is the vicar of our parish.' 

' Indeed ! and does he live near here ? ' 

'Yes, Ma'am, he lives at the vicarage. It 'a 
just down that lane opposite, about a quarter 
of a mile from here ; or you can go across the 
fields, if you please, to where you see that 
tower ; it 's close by there.' 

' And which is the pleasantest road 1 ' in- 
quired Mrs. Markham. 

' Well, Ma'am, I think by the fields is the 
pleasantest, if you don't mind a stile or two ; 



78 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



;(! l.y 



and, besides, yon get the best view of the 
Al<l>ey U going that, way.' 

'Is that tower we. see part of the Abbey ? ' 

' Yes, Ma'am,' answered the girl, ' and the 
vicarage is just the other side of it.' 

Armed with these instructions, as soon as 
we had finished our breakfast we started 
across the fields, and after a pleasant walk 
of twenty minutes we found ourselves in 
an old churchyard, amongst a cluster of the 
most picturesque ruins we had ever seen. 
With the exception of the grey tower, which 
we had espied from the inn, and which had 
doubtless been the belfry, the remains were 
not considerable. Thei-e was the outer wall 
of the chancel, and the broken step that had 
led to the high altar, anil there were sections 
of aisles, and part of a cloister, all gracefully 
festooned with mosses and ivy ; whilst mingled 
with the grass-grown graves of the prosaic 
dead, there were the massive tombs of the 
Dame Margerys and the Sir Hildebrands of 
more romantic periods. All was ruin and 
decay ; but such poetic ruin ! such picturesque 
decay ! And just beyond the tall grey tower, 
there was the loveliest, smiling, little garden, 
and the prettiest cottage, that imagination 
could picture. The day was so bright, the 
grass so green, the flowers so gay, the air so 
balmy with their sweet perfumes, the birds 
sang so cheerily in the apple and cherry trees, 
that all nature seemed rejoicing. 

' Well,' said my friend, as she seated herself 
on the fragment of a pillar, and looked around 
her, ' now that I see this place, I understand 
the sort of people the Lovells were.' 

' What sort of people were they ? ' said I. 

' Why, as I said before, interesting people. 
In the first place, they were both extremely 
handsome.' 

' But the locality had nothing to do with 
their good looks, I presume,' said I. 

' I am not sure of that,' she answered ; 
'when there is the least foundation of taste or 
intellect to set out with, the beauty of external 
nature, and the picturesque accidents that 
harmonise with it, do, I am persuaded, by 
their gentle and elevating influences on the 
mind, make the handsome handsomer, and the 
ugly less ugly. But it was not alone the good 
looks of the Lovells that struck me, but their 
air of refinement and high breeding, and I 
should say high birth though I know nothing 
about their extraction combined with their 
undisguised poverty and as evident content- 
ment. Now, I can understand such people 
finding here an appropriate home, and being 
satisfied with their small share of this world's 
goods ; because here the dreams of romance 
writers about Love in a Cottage might be 
somewhat realised ; poverty might be graceful 
and poetical here ; and then, you know, they 
have no rent to pay.' 

' Very true,' said I ; ' but suppose they had 
sixteen daughters, like a half-pay officer I 
once met on board a steam-packet ? ' 

'That would spoil it certainly,' said Mrs. 



Markham ; ' but let us hope they have 
When I knew them they had only two chil- 
dren, a boy and a girl, called Charles and 
Kmily; two of the prettiest creatures I ever 
beheld ! ' 

As my friend thought it yet rather early 
for a visit, we. had remained chattering in this 
\vay for more than an hour, sometimes seated 
on a tombstone, or a fallen column ; some- 
times peering amongst the carved fragments 
that were scattered about the ground, and 
sometimes looking over the hedge into the 
little garden, the wicket of which was imme- 
diately behind the tower. The weather being 
warm, most of the windows of the vicai 
were open and the blinds were all down ; we 
had not yet seen a soul stirring, and were just 
wondering whether we might venture to 
present ourselves at the door, when a strain 
of distant music struck upon our e 
' Hark ! ' I said, ' how exquisite ! It was the 
only thing wanting to complete the charm.' 

' It 's a military band, I think,' said Mrs. 
Markham, ' you know we passed some bar- 
racks before we reached the Inn.' 

Nearer and nearer drew the sound, solemn 
and slow ; the band was evidently approach- 
ing by the green lane that skirted the fields 
we had come by. ' Hush,' said I, laying my 
hand on my friend's arm, with a strange 
sinking of the heart ; ' they are playing the 
Dead March in Saul ! Don't you hear the 
muffled drums 1 It 's a funeral, but where 's 
the grave ? ' 

' There ! ' said she, pointing to a spot close 
under the hedge where some earth had been 
thrown up ; but the aperture was covered 
with a plank, probably to prevent accidents. 

There are few ceremonies in life at once so 
touching, so impressive, so sad, and yet so 
beautiful, as a soldier's funeral ! Ordinary 
funerals with their unwieldy hearses and 
feathers, and the absurd looking mutes, and 
the 'inky cloaks' and weepers, of hired 
mourners, always seem to me like a mockery 
of the dead ; the appointments border so 
closely on the grotesque ; they are so little 
in keeping with the true, the only vii-w 
of death that can render life endurable ! 
There is such a tone of exaggerated 
forced, heavy, over-acted gravity about the 
whole thing, that one had need to have a 
deep personal interest involved in the scene, 
to be able to shut one's eyes to the burlesque 
side of it. But a military funeral, how dif- 
ferent ! There you see death in life and life 
in death ! There is nothing over-strained, 
nothing overdone. At once simple and 
solemn, decent and decorous, consoling, yet 
sad. The chief mourners, at best, are generally 
true mourners, for they have lost a brother 
with whom ' they sat but yesterday at meat ;' 
and whilst they are comparing memories, re- 
calling how merry they had many a day been 
together, and the solemn tones of that sublime 
music float upon the air, we can imagine the 
freed and satisfied soul wafted on those har- 



Charles Dickens.] 



LOADED DICE. 



79 



monious breathings to its Heavenly home ; 
and our hearts are melted, our imaginations 
exalted, our faith invigorated, and we come 
away the better for what we have seen. 

I believe some such reflections as these were 
passing through our minds, for we both re- 
mained silent and listening, till the swinging-to 
of the little wicket, which communicated with 
the garden, aroused iis ; but nobody appeared, 
and the tower being at the moment betwixt 
us and it, we could not see who had entered. 
Almost at the same moment, a man came in 
from a gate on the opposite side, and advanc- 
ing to where the earth was thrown up, lifted 
the plank and discovered the newly made 
grave. He was soon followed by some boys, 
and several respectable-looking persons came 
into the enclosure, whilst nearer and nearer 
drew the sound of the muffled drums, and 
now we descried the firing party and their 
officer, who led the procession with their arms 
reversed, each man wearing above the elbow 
a piece of black crape and a small bow of 
white satin ribbon ; the band still playing 
that solemn strain. Then came the coffin, 
borne by six soldiers. Six officers bore up 
the pall, all quite young men ; and ou the 
coffin lay the shako, sword, side -belt, and 
white gloves of the deceased. A long train 
of mourners marched two and two, in open 
file, the privates first, the officers last. 
Sorrow was imprinted on every face ; there 
was no unseemly chattering, no wandering 
eyes ; if a word was exchanged, it was in 
a whisper, and the sad shake of the head 
showed of whom they were discoursing. All 
this we observed as they marched through 
the lane that skirted one side of the church- 
yard. As they neared the gate the band 
ceased to play. 

'See there,' said Mrs. Markham, directing 
my attention to the cottage, ' there comes Mr. 
Lovell. Oh, how he is changed ! ' and whilst 
she spoke, the clergyman entering by the 
wicket, advanced to meet the procession at 
the gate, where he commenced reading the 
funeral service as he moved backwards to- 
wards the grave, round which the firing party, 
leaning on their firelocks, now formed. Then 
came those awful words, ' Ashes to ashes, dust 
to dust,' the hollow sound of the earth upon 
the coffin, and three vollies fired over the 
grave, finished the solemn ceremony. 

When the procession entered the church- 
yard, we had retired behind the broken wall 
of the chancel, whence, without being ob- 
served, we had watched the whole scene with 
intense interest. Just as the words 'Ashes 
to ashes ! dust to dust ! ' were pronounced, 
I happened to raise my eyes towards the 
grey tower, and then, peering through one 
of the narrow slits, I saw the face of a man 
such a face ! Never to my latest day can 
I forget the expression of those features ! 
If ever there was despair and anguish 
written on a human countenance, it was 
there ! And yet so young ! so beautiful ! A 



cold chill ran through my veins as I pressed 
Mrs. Markham's arm. ' Look up at the 
tower ! ' I whispered. 

' My God ! What can it be T she answered, 
turning quite pale ! ' And Mr. Lovell, did you 
observe how his voice shook ? at first, I 
thought it was illness ; but he seems bowed 
down with grief. Every face looks awe- 
struck ! There must be some tragedy here 
something more than the death of an indivi- 
dual !' and fearing, under this impression, 
that our visit might prove untimely, we re- 
solved to return to the inn, and endeavour 
to discover if anything unusual had really 
occurred. Before we moved, I looked up at 
the narrow slit the face was no longer there ; 
but as we passed round to the other side of 
the tower, we saw a tall, slender figure, 
attired in a loose coat, pass slowly through 
the wicket, cross the garden, and enter the 
house. We only caught a glimpse of the pro- 
file ; the head hung down upon the breast ; 
the eyes were bent upon the ground ; but we 
knew it was the same face we had seen 
above. 

We went back to the inn, where our in- 
quiries elicited some information, which made 
us wish to know more : but it was not till we 
went into the town that we obtained the fol- 
lowing details of this mournful drama, of 
which we had thus accidentally witnessed one 
impressive scene. 

Mr. Lovell, as Mrs. Markham had con- 
jectured, was a man of good family, but no 
fortune ; he might have had a large one, 
could he have made up his mind to marry 
Lady Elizabeth Wentworth, the bride selected 
for him by a wealthy uncle who proposed to 
make him his heir ; but preferring poverty 
with Emily Dering, he was disinherited. He 
never repented his choice, although he re- 
mained vicar of a small parish, and a poor man 
all his life. The two children whom Mrs. 
Markham had seen, were the only ones they 
had, and through the excellent management of 
Mrs. Lovell, and the moderation of her hus- 
band's desires, they had enjoyed an- unusual 
degree of happiness in this sort of graceful 
poverty, till the young Charles and Emily were 
grown up, and it was time to think' what was 
to be done with them. The son had been pre- 
pared for Oxford by the father, and the 
daughter, under the tuition of her mother, 
was remarkably well educated and accom- 
plished ; but it became necessary to consider 
the future : Charles must be sent to college, 
since the only chance of finding a provision 
for him was in the Church, although the ex- 
pense of maintaining him there could be ill 
afforded ; so, in order in some degree to 
balance the outlay, it was, after much de- 
liberation, agreed that Emily should accept 
a situation as governess in London. The pro- 
posal was made by herself, and the rather con- 
sented to, that, in case of the death of her 
parents, she would almost inevitably have had 
to seek some such means of subsistence. These 



80 



HOUSEHOLD WO.1MJS. 



[Conducted by 



partings were the iirst sorrows that hiul 
reached the Lovells. 

At first, all went well ; Charles was not 
wanting in ability nor in a moderate degree 
of application ; and Emily wrote cheerily of 
her new life. She was kindly received, well 
treated, and associated with the family on the 
footing of a friend. Neither did further expe- 
rience seem to dimmish her satisfaction. She 
saw a great many gay people some of whom 
she named ; and, amongst the rest, there not 
(infrequently appeared the name of Herbert. 
Mr. Herbert was in the army, and being a 
distant connexion of the family with whom 
she resided, was a frequent visitor at their 
house. ' She was sure papa and mamma 
would like him.' Once the nfother smiled, 
and said she hoped Emily was not falling in 
love ; but no more was thought of it. In the 
meantime Charles had found out that there 
was tune for many things at Oxford, besides 
study. He was naturally fond of society, and 
had a remarkable capacity for excelling in 
all kinds of games. He was agreeable, lively, 
exceedingly handsome, and sang charmingly, 
having been trained in part-singing by his 
mother. No young man at Oxford was 
more fete ; but alas ! he was very poor, 
and poverty poisoned all his enjoyments. 
For some time he resisted temptation ; but 
after a terrible struggle for he adored his 
family he gave way, and ran in debt, and 
although the imprudence only augmented his 
misery, he had not resolution to retrace his 
steps, but advanced further and further on 
this broad road to ruin, so that he had come 
home for the vacation shortly before our 

visit to T , threatened with all manner of 

annoyances if he did not carry back a suffi- 
cient sum to satisfy his most clamorous 
creditors. He had assured them he would 
do so, but where was he to get the money ? 
Certainly not from his parents ; he well knew 
they had it not ; nor had 1 le a friend in the 
world from whom he could hope assistance 
in such an emergency. In his despair he often 
thought of running away going to Australia, 
America, New Zealand, anywhere ; but he had 
not even the means to do this. He suffered in- 
describable" tortures, and saw no hope of relief. 

It was just at this period that Herbert's 
regiment happened to be quartered at T . 
Charles had occasionally seen his name in 
his sister's letters, and heard that there 
was a Herbert now in the barracks, but 
lie was ignorant whether or not it was 
the same person ; and when he accidentally 
fell into the society of some of the junior 
officers, and was invited by Herbert himself 
to dine at the mess, pride prevented his as- 
certaining the fact. He did not wish to 
betray that his sister was a governess. Her- 
bert, however, knew full well that their visitor 
t ho brother of Emily Lovell, but partly 
is of his own, and partly because he 
rated the weakness of the other, he ab- 
stained from mentioning her name. 



Now, this town of T was, and probably 
is, about the dullest quarter in all England ! 
The officers hated it, there was no flirting, no 
dancing, no hunting, no anything. Not a man 
of them knew what to do with himself. The 
old ones wandered about and played at whist, 
the young ones took 1c> liaxard and three-card- 
loo, playing at first for moderate stakes, but 
soon getting on to high ones. Two or three 
civilians of the neighbourhood joined the 
party, Charles Lovell amongst the rest. Had 
they begun with playing high, he would have 
been excluded for want of funds ; but whilst 
they played low, he won, so that when they 
increased the stakes, trusting to a continuance 
of his good fortune, he was eager to go on 
with them. Neither did his luck altogether 
desert him ; on the whole, he rather won than 
lost ; but he foresaw that one bad night would 
break him, and he should be obliged to retire, 
forfeiting his amusement and mortifying his 
pride. It was just at this crisis, that, one 
night, an accident, which caused him to win 
a considerable sum, set him upon the notion 
of turning chance into certainty. Whilst 
shuffling the cards, he dropped the ace of 
spades into his lap, caught it up, replaced it in 
the pack, and dealt it to himself. No one 
else had seen the card, no observation was 
made, and a terrible thought came into his 
head ! 

Whether loo or hazard was played, Charles 
Lovell had, night after night, a most extra- 
ordinary run of luck. He won large sums, 
and saw before him the early prospect of 
paying his debts and clearing all his diffi- 
culties. 

Amongst the young men who played at the 
table, some had plenty of money and cared 
little for their losses ; but others were not so 
well off, and one of these was Edward Her- 
bert. He, too, was the son of poor parents 
who had straitened themselves to put him in 
the army, and it was with infinite difficulty 
and privation that his widowed mother had 
amassed the needful sum to purchase for him 
a company, which was now becoming vacant. 
The retiring officer's papers were already sent 
in, and Herbert's money was lodged at Cox 
and Green wood's ; but before the answer from 
the Horse-Guards arrived, he had lost every 
sixpence. Nearly the whole sum had become 
the property of Charles Lovell. 

Herbert was a fine young man, honourable, 
generous, impetuous, and endowed with an 
acute sense of shame. He determined in- 
stantly to pay the debts, but he knew that 
his own prospects were rained for life ; he 
wrote to the agents to send him the money 
and withdraw his name from the list of pur- 
chasers. But how was he to support his 
mother's grief? How meet the eye of the 
girl he loved 1 She, who he knew adored 
him, and whose hand it was agreed between 
them he should ask of her parents as soon as 
he was gazetted a captain ! The anguish of 
mind he suffered then threw him into a fever, 



Charles Dickens. J 



LOADED DICE. 



81 



and he lay for several days betwixt life 
and death, and happily unconscious of his 
misery. 

Meantime, another scene was being enacted 
elsewhere. The officers, who night after night 
found themselves losers, had not for some 
time entertained the least idea of foul play, 
but at length, one of them observing something 
suspicious, began to watch, and satisfied him- 
self, by a peculiar method adopted by Lovell in 
' throwing his mains,' that he was the culprit. 
His suspicions were whispered from one to 
another, till they nearly all entertained them, 
with the exception of Herbert, who, being 
looked upon as Lovell's most especial friend, 
was not told. So unwilling were these 
young men to blast, for ever, the character of 
the visitor whom they had so much liked, 
and to strike a fatal blow at the happiness 
and respectability of his family, that they 
were hesitating how to proceed, whether to 
openly accuse him or privately reprove and 
expel him, when Herbert's heavy loss decided 
the question. 

Herbert himself, overwhelmed with despair, 
had quitted the room, the rest were still 
seated around the table, when having given 
each other a signal, one of them, called Frank 
Houston, arose and said : ' Gentlemen, it gives 
me great pain to have to call your attention 
to a very strange a very distressing circum- 
stance. For some time past there has been an 
extraordinary run of luck in one direction 
we have all observed it all remarked on it. 
Mr. Herbert has at this moment retired a 
heavy loser. There is, indeed, as far as I 
know, but one winner amongst us but one, 
and he a winner to a very considerable 
amount ; the rest all losers. God forbid, that 
I should rashly accuse any man ! Lightly 
blast any man's character ! But I am bound 
to say, that I fear the money we have lost has 
not been fairly won. There has been foul 
play ! I forbear to name the party the facts 
sufficiently indicate him.' 

Who would not have pitied Lovell, when, 
livid with horror and conscious guilt, he 
vainly tried to say something 1 ' Indeed I 
assure you I never' but words would not 
come ; he faltered and rushed out of the room 
in a transport of agony. They did pity him ; 
and when he was gone, agreed amongst 
themselves to hush up the affair : but unfor- 
tunately, the civilians of the party, who had 
not been let into the secret, took up his 
defence. They not only believed the accusa- 
tion unfounded, but felt it as an affront offered 
to their townsman ; they blustered about it a 
good deal, and there was nothing left for it 
but to appoint a committee of investigation. 
Alas ! the evidence was overwhelming ! It 
turned out that the dice and cards had been 
supplied by Lovell. The former, still on the 
table, were found on examination to be 
loaded. In fact, he had had a pair as a 
curiosity long in his possession, and had 
obtained others from a disreputable cha- 



racter at Oxford. No doubt remained of his 
guilt. 

All this while Herbert had been too ill to 
be addressed on the subject ; but symptoms 
of recovery were now beginning to appear; 
and as nobody was aware that he had any par- 
ticular interest in the Lovell family, the affair 
was communicated to him. At first he refused 
to believe in his friend's guilt, and became 
violently irritated. His informants assured 
him they would be too happy to find they were 
mistaken, but that since the inquiry no hope 
of such an issue remained, and he sank into a 
gloomy silence. 

On the following morning, when his servant 
came to his room door, he found it locked. 
When, at the desire of the surgeon, it was 
broken open, Herbert was found a corpse, and 
a discharged pistol lying beside him. An 
inquest sat upon the body, and the verdict 
brought in was Temporary Insanity. There 
never was one more just. 

Preparations were now made for the funeral 
that funeral which we had witnessed ; but 
before the day appointed for it arrived, another 
chapter of this sad story was unfolded. 

When Charles left the barracks on that 
fatal night, instead of going home, he passed 
the dark hours in wandering wildly about the 
country ; but when morning dawned, fearing 
the eye of man, he returned to the vicarage, 
and slunk unobserved to his chamber. When 
he did not appear at breakfast, his mother 
sought him in his room, where she found him 
in bed. He said he was very ill and so 
indeed he was and begged to be left alone ; 
but as he was no better 011 the following day, 
she insisted on sending for medical advice. 
The doctor found him with all those physical 
symptoms that are apt to supervene from 
great anxiety of mind ; and saying he could 
get no sleep, Charles requested to have some 
laudanum ; but the physician was on his 
guard, for although the parties concerned 
wished to keep the thing private, some ru- 
mours had got abroad that awakened his 
caution. 

The parents, meanwhile, had not the slight- 
est anticipation of the thunderbolt that was 
about to fall upon them. They lived a very 
retired life, were acquainted with none of the 
officers and they were even ignorant of the 
amount of their son's intimacy with the regi- 
ment. Thus, when news of Herbert's lamen- 
table death reached them, the mother said 
to her son : ' Charles, did you know a young 
man in the barracks called Herbert ; a lieu- 
tenant, I believe ? By the bye, I hope it 's not 
Emily's Mr. Herbert.' 

' Did I know him 1 ' said Charles, turning 
suddenly towards her, for, under pretence that 
the light annoyed him, he always lay with his 
face to the wall. ' Why do you ask, mother ? ' 

' Because he 's dead. He ( had a fever, 
and ' 

' Herbert dead! ' cried Charles, suddenly sit- 
ting up in the bed. 



82 



HOUSEHOLD WO11DS. 



[Conducted by 



' Yes, he had a fever, and it is supposed he 
was delirious, for he blew out his brains; 
there is a report that he had been playing 
] i i^h, and lost a great deal of money. What 's 
the* matter, dear 1 Oh, Charles, I shouldn't 
have told you ! I was not aware that you knew 
hirp ! ' 

' Fetch my father here, and, Mother, you 
come back with him ! ' said Charles, speaking 
with a strange sternness of tone, and wildly 
motioning her out of the room. 

When the parents came, he bade them sit 
down beside him ; and then, with a degree of 
remorse and anguish that no words could 
portray, he told them all ; whilst they, with 
blanched cheeks and fainting hearts, listened 
to the dire confession. 

' And here I am,' he exclaimed, as he ended, 
' a cowardly scoundrel that has not dared to 
die ! Oh, Herbert ! happy, happy, Herbert ! 
Would I were with you ! ' 

At that moment the door opened, and a 
beautiful, bright, smiling, joyous face peeped 
in. It was Emily Lovell, the beloved daughter, 
the adored sister, arrived from London in 
compliance with a letter received a few days 
previously from Herbert, wherein he had told 
her that by the time she received it, he would 
be a captain. She had come to introduce him 
to her parents as her affianced husband. She 
feared no refusal ; well she knew how rejoiced 
they would be to see her the wife of so kind 
and honourable a man. But they were ignorant 
of all tliis, and in the fulness of their agony, 
the cup of woe ran over and she drank of the 
draught ! They told her all before she had 
been five minutes in the room. How else 
could they account for their tears, their con- 
fusion, their bewilderment, their despair ! 

Before Herbert's funeral took place, Emily 
Lovell was lying betwixt life and death in a 
brain fever. Under the influence of a feeling 
easily to be comprehended, thirsting for a 
self-imposed torture, that by its very poignancy 
should relieve the dead weight of wretched- 
ness that lay upon his breast, Charles crept 
from his bed, and slipping on a loose coat that 
hung in his room, he stole across the garden 
to the tower, whence, through the arrow-slit, 
he witnessed the burial of his sister's lover, 
whom he had hastened to the grave. 

Here terminates our sad story. We left 

T on the following morning, and it was two 

or three years before any further intelligence 
of the Lovell family reached us. All we 
then heard was, that Charles had gone, a 
self-condemned exile, to Australia ; and that 
Emily had insisted on accompanying him 
thither. 



DREAM WITHIN DREAM ; OR, EVIL 
MINIMISED. 

WHAT evil would be, could it be, the Blest 
Are sometimes Vain to know. They sink to rest, 
Dream, for one moment's space, of care and strife, 
Wake, stare, and smile ; aud this is Human Life. 



THE SCHOOLMASTER AT HOME AND 
ABROAD. 



THE lamentable deficiency of the common- 
est rudiments of education, which still exists 
among the humbler classes of this nation, is 
never so darkly apparent as when we com- 
pare their condition with that of people of 
similar rank in other countries. When we do 
so, we find that England stands the lowest in 
the scale of what truly must be looked upon as 
Civilisation ; for she provides fewer means for 
promoting it than any of her neighbours. With 
us, education is a commodity to be trafficked 
in : abroad, it is a duty. Here, schoolmasters 
are perfectly irresponsible except to their 
paymasters : in other countries, teachers are 
appointed by the state, and a rigid supervision 
is maintained over the' trainers of youth, both 
as regards competency and moral conduct. 
In England, whoever is too poor to buy the 
article education, can get none of it for him- 
self or his offspring : in other parts of Europe, 
either the government (as in Germany), or 
public opinion (as in America), enforces it 
upon the youthful population. 

What are the consequences ? One is re- 
vealed by a comparison between the propor- 
tion of scholars in elementary schools to the 
entire population of other countries, and that 
in our own. Taking the whole of northern 
Europe including Scotland and France and 
Belgium (where education is at a low ebb), we 
find that to every 2| of the population, there 
is one child acquiring the rudiments of know- 
ledge ; while in England there is only one 
such pupil to every fourteen inhabitants. 

It has been calculated that there are in 
England and Wales 6,000,000 persons who can 
neither read nor write that is to say, about 
one-third of the population, including of 
course infants ; but, of all the children 
between five and fourteen, more than one 
half attend no place of instruction. These 
statements compiled by Mr. Kay, from offi- 
cial and other authentic sources, for his work 
on the Social Condition and Education of the 
Poor in England and Europe, would be hard 
to believe, if we had not to encounter in our 
every-day life degrees of illiteracy which 
would be startling, if we were not thoroughly 
used to it. Wherever we turn, ignorance, 
not always allied to poverty, stares us in 
the face. If we look in the Gazette, at the 
list of partnerships dissolved, not a month 
s but some unhappy man, rolling per- 
haps in wealth, but wallowing in ignorance, 
is put to the experimentum, crucis of ' his 
mark.' The number of petty jurors in 
rural districts especially who can only sign 
with a cross is enormous. It is not unusual 
to see parish documents of great local impor- 
tance defaced with the same humiliating 
symbol by persons whose office shows them 
to be not only 'men of mark,' but men of 
substance. We have printed already speci- 
mens of the partial ignorance which passes 



Charles Dickens.] 



THE SCHOOLMASTER AT HOME AND ABKOAD. 



83 



under the ken of the Post Office authorities, 
and we may venture to assert, that such spe- 
cimens of penmanship and orthography are 
not to be matched in any other country in 
Europe. A housewife in humble life need only 
turn to the file of her tradesmen's bills to 
discover hieroglyphics which render them 
so many arithmetical puzzles. In short, the 
practical evidences of the low ebb to which 
the plainest rudiments of education in thi: 
country has fallen, are too common to bear 
repetition. We cannot pass through the 
streets, we cannot enter a place of public 
assembly, or ramble in the fields, without the 
gloomy shadow of Ignorance sweeping over us. 
The rural population is indeed in a worse 
plight than the other classes. We quote 
with the attestation of our own experience 
the following passage from one of a series 
of articles which have recently appeared 
in a morning newspaper: 'Taking the 
adult class of agricultural labourers, it is 
almost impossible to exaggerate the igno- 
rance in which they live and move and 
have their being. As they work in the 
fields, the external world has some hold upon 
them through the medium of their senses ; 
but to all the higher exercises of intellect, 
they are perfect strangers. You cannot 
address one of them without being at once 
painfully struck with the intellectual dark- 
ness which enshrouds Mm. There is in 
general neither speculation in his eyes, nor 
intelligence in his countenance. The whole 
expression is more that of an animal than of 
a man. He is wanting, too, in the erect and 
independent bearing of a man. When you 
accost him, if he is not insolent which he 
seldom is he is timid and shrinking, his 
whole manner showing that he feels himself 
at a distance from you, greater than should 
sepai-ate any two classes of men. He is often 
doubtful when you address, and suspicious 
when you question him ; he is seemingly 
oppressed with the interview, while it lasts, 
and obviously relieved when it is over. These 
are the traits which I can affirm them to 
possess as a class, after having come in con- 
tact with many hundreds of farm labourers. 
They belong to a generation for whose in- 
tellectual culture little or nothing was done. 
As a class, they have no amusements beyond 
the indulgence of sense. In nine cases out of 
ten, recreation is associated in their minds 
with nothing higher than sensuality. I have 
frequently asked clergymen and others, if 
they often find the adult peasant reading for 
his own or others' amusement ? The in- 
variable answer is, that such a sight is seldom 
or never witnessed. In the first place, the great 
bulk of them cannot read. In the next, a large 
proportion of those who can, do so with too 
much difficulty to admit of the exercise being 
an amusement to them. Again, few of those 
who can read with comparative ease, have the 
taste for doing so. It is but justice to them to 
say, that many of those who cannot read, have 



bitterly regretted, in my hearing, their inability 
to do so. I shall never forget the tone in which 
an old woman in Cornwall intimated to me 
what a comfort it would now be to her, could 
she only read her Bible in her lonely hours.' 
We now turn to the high lights of the 
picture as presented abroad, and which, from 
their very brightness, throw our own intel- 
lectual gloom into deeper shade. Mr. Kay 
observes in the work we have already cited 
' It is a great fact, however much we may 
be inclined to doubt it, that throughout 
Prussia, Saxony, Bavaria, Bohemia, Wirtem- 
berg, Baden, Hesse Darmstadt, Hesse Cassel, 
Gotha, Nassau, Hanover, Denmark, Switzer- 
land, Norway, and the Austrian Empire, ALL 
the children are actually at this present time 
attending school, and are receiving a careful, 
religious, moral, and intellectual education, 
from highly educated and efficient teachers. 
Over the vast tract of country which I have 
mentioned, as well as in Holland, and the 
greater part of France, all the children above 
six years of age are daily acquiring useful 
knowledge and good habits under the influence 
of moral, religious, and learned teachers. ALL 
the youth of the greater part of these 
countries, below the age of twenty-one years, 
can read, write, and cypher, and know the Bible 
History, and the history of their own country. 
No children are left idle and dirty in the 
streets of the towns there is no class of 
children to be compared in any respect to the 
children who frequent our " ragged schools " 
all the children, even of the poorest parents, 
are, in a great part of these countries, in 
dress, appearance, cleanliness, and manners, as 
polished and civilised as the children of our 
middle classes ; the children of the poor in 
Germany are so civilised that the rich often 
send their children to the schools intended 
for the poor ; and, lastly, in a great part of 
Germany and Switzerland, the children of 
the poor are receiving a better education than 
that given in England to . the children of the 
greater part of our middle classes.' 

'I remember one day,' says Mr. Kay in 
another page, ' when walking near Berlin in 
the company of Herr Hintz, a professor in 
Dr. Diesterweg's Normal College, and of 
another teacher, we saw a poor woman cut- 
ting up, in the i-oad, logs of wood for winter 
use. My companions pointed her out to me 
and said, " Perhaps you will scarcely believe 
it, but in the neighbourhood of Berlin, poor 
women, like that one, read translations of 
Sir Walter Scott's Novels, and many of the 
interesting works of your language, besides 
those of the principal writers of Germany." 
This account was afterwards confirmed by 
the testimony of several other persons. Often 
and often have I seen the poor cab-drivers of 
Berlin, while waiting for a fare, amusing 
themselves by reading German books, which 
;hey had brought with them in the morning, 
expressly for the purpose of supplying amuse- 
ment and occupation for their leisure hours. 



84 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



In many parts of these countries, the peasants 
and the workmen of the towns attend regular 
weekly lectures or weekly classes, where 
they practise singing or chanting, or learn 
mechanical drawing, history, or science. The 
intelligence of the poorer classes of these 
countries is shown by their manners. The 
whole appearance of a German peasant who 
has been brought up under this system, i. e. 
of any of the poor who have not attained 
the age of thirty-five years, is very different 
to that of our own peasantry. The German, 
Swiss, or Dutch peasant, who has grown up 
to manhood under the new system, and since 
the old feudal system was overthrown, is not 
nearly so often, as with us, distinguished by 
an uncouth dialect. On the contrary, they 
speak as their teachers speak, clearly, without 
hesitation, and grammatically. They answer 
questions politely, readily, and with the ease 
which shows they have been accustomed to 
mingle with men of greater wealth and of 
better education than themselves. They do 
not appear embarrassed, still less do they 
appear gawkish or stupid, when addressed. 
If, in asking a peasant a question, a stranger, 
according to the polite custom of the country, 
raises his hat, the first words of reply are the 
quietly uttered ones, " I pray you, Sir, be 
covered." A Prussian peasant is always 
polite and respectful to a stranger, but quite 
as much at his ease as when speaking to one 
of his own fellows.' 

Surely the contrast presented between the 
efforts of the schoolmaster abroad and his 
inactivity at home refuting, as it does, our 
hourly boastings of ' intellectual progress,' 
should arouse us, energetically and practi- 
cally, to the work of Educational extension. 



THE LADY ALICE. 

i. 

WHAT doth the Lady Alice so late on the turret- 
stair, 

Without a lamp to light her but the diamond in 
her hair ; 

When every arching passage overflows with shallow 
gloom, 

And dreams float through the castle, into every 
silent room ] 

She trembles at her footsteps, although their fall 

is light ; 
For through the turret-loopholes she sees the 

murky night, 
Black, broken vapours streaming across the stormy 

skies, 
Along the empty corridors the moaning tempest 

cries. 

She steals along a gallery, she pauses by a 

door ; 
And fast her tears are dropping down upon the 

oaken floor ; 
And thrice she seems returning, but thrice sue 

turns again ; 
Now heavy lie the cloud of sleep on that old 

father's brain ! 



Oh, well it were that never thou should'st waken 

from thy sleep ! 
For wherefore should they waken who waken but 

to weep 1 
No more, no more beside thy bed may Peace her 

vigil keep ; 
Thy sorrow, like a lion, waits* upon its prey to 

leap. 

ii. 

An afternoon in April. No sun appears on high ; 
A moist and yellow lustre fills the deepness of 

the sky ; 
Aiid through the castle gateway, with slow and 

solemn tread, 
Along the leafless avenue they bear the honoured 

dead. 

They stop. The long line closes up, like some 
gigantic worm ; 

A shape is standing in the path ; a wan and ghost- 
like form ; 

Which gazes fixedly, nor moves ; nor utters any 
sound ; 

Then, like a statue built of snow, falls lifeless to 
the ground. 

And though her clothes are ragged, and though 

her feet are bare ; 
And though all wild and tangled, falls her heavy 

silk-brown hair ; 
Though from her eyes the brightness, from her 

cheeks the bloom, has fled ; 
They know their Lady Alice, the Darling of the 

Dead. 

With silence, in her own old room the fainting 

form they lay ; 
Where all things stand unaltered since the night 

she fled away ; 
But who shall bring to life again her father from 

the clay 1 
But who shall give her back again her heart of 

that old day ? 



ILLUSTRATIONS OF CHEAPNESS. 

A GLOBE. 

ONE of the most remarkable of self-educated 
men, James Ferguson, when a poor agricul- 
tural labourer, constructed a globe. A friend 
had made him a present of ' Gordon's Geo- 
graphical Grammar,' which, he says, ' at that 
time was to me a great treasure. There is no 
figure of a globe in it, although it contains a 
tolerable description of the globes, and their 
use. From this description I made a globe in 
three weeks, at my father's, having turned 
the ball thereof out of a piece of wood ; Avhich 
ball I covered with paper, and delineated a 
map of the world upon it, made the meridian 
ring and horizon of wood, covered them with 
l>np.T, and graduated them; and was happy 
to find that by my globe (which was the lirst 
I ever saw) I could solve the problems.' 

' But,' he adds, ' this was not likely to afford 
me brc'inl/ 

In a few years this ingenious man discovered 
the conditions upon which he could earn his 
bread, by a skill which did not suffer under 

* The lion was said to ' prey on nothing that doth teem 
as dead.' 



Charles Dickens.] 



ILLUSTRATIONS OF CHEAPNESS. 



85 



the competition of united labour. He had 
made also a wooden clock. He carried about 
his globe and his clock, and ' began to pick up 
some money about the country ' by cleaning 
clocks. He became a skilled clock-cleaner. 
For six-and-twenty years afterwards he earned 
his bread as an artist. He then became a 
scientific lecturer, and in connection with his 
pursuits, was also a globe maker. His name 
may be seen upon old globes, associated with 
that of Senex. The demand for globes must 
have been then very small, but Ferguson had 
learned that cheapness is produced by labour- 
saving contrivances. A pretty instrument for 
graduating lines upon the meridian ring, once 
belonging to Ferguson, is in use at this hour 
in the manufactory of Messrs. Malby and Son. 
The poor lad ' who made a globe in three 
weeks' finally won the honours and riches 
that were due to his genius and industry. 
But he would never have earned a living in 
the continuance of his first attempt to turn a 
ball out of a piece of wood, cover it with paper, 
and draw a map of the world upon it. The 
nicest application of his individual skill, and 
the most careful employment of his scientific 
knowledge, would have been wasted upon 
those portions of the work in which the con- 
tinued application of common routine Labour 
is the most efiicient instrument of production. 

Let us contrast the successive steps of 
Ferguson's first experiment in globe-making 
with the processes of a globe manufactory. 

A globe is not made of ' a ball turned out of 
a piece of wood.' If a solid ball of large 
dimensions were so turned, it would be too 
heavy for ordinary use. Erasmus said of one 
of the books of Thomas Aquinas, ' No man can 
carry it about, much less get it into his head ; ' 
and so would it be said of a solid globe. If it 
were made of hollow wood, it would warp and 
split at the junction of its parts. A globe is 
made of paper and plaster. It is a beautiful 
combination of solidity and lightness. It is 
perfectly balanced upon its axis. It retains 
its form under every variety of temperature. 
Time affects it less than most other works of 
art. It is as durable as a Scagliola column. 

A globe may not, at first sight, appear a 
cheap production. It is not, of necessity, a 
low-priced production, and yet it is essentially 
cheap ; for nearly all the principles of manu- 
facture that are conditions of cheapness are 
exhibited in the various stages of its construc- 
tion. There are only four globe-makers in 
England and one in Scotland. The annual 
sale of globes is only about a thousand pair. 
The price of a pair of globes varies from six 
shillings to fifty pounds. But from the 
smallest 2-inch, to the largest 36-inch globe, 
a systematic process is carried on at every 
step of its formation. We select this Illustra- 
tion of Cheapness as a contrast, in relation to 
price and extent of demand, to the Lucifer 
Match. _ But it is, at the same tune, a parallel 
in principle. If a globe were not made upon 
a principle involving the scientific combina- 



tion of skilled labour, it would be a mere 
article of luxury from its excessive costliness. 
It is now a most useful instrument in educa- 
tion. For educational purposes the most in- 
expensive globe is as valuable as that of the 
highest price. All that properly belongs to 
the excellence of the instrument is found in 
combination with the commonest stained 
wood frame, as perfectly as with the most 
highly-finished frame of rose-wood or ma- 
hogany. 

The mould, if we may so express it, of a globe 
is turned out of a piece of wood. This sphere 
need not be mathematically accurate. It is 
for rough work, and flaws and cracks are of 
little consequence. This wooden ball has an 
axis, a piece of iron wire at each pole. And 
here we may remark, that, at every stage of 
the process, the revolution of a sphere upon 
its axis, under the hands of the workman, is 
the one great principle which renders every 
operation one of comparative ease and simpli- 
city. The labour would be enormously mul- 
tiplied if the same class of operations had to 
be performed upon a cube. The solid mould, 
then, of the embryo globe is "placed on its axis 
in a wooden frame. In a very short time a 
boy will form a pasteboard globe upon its 
surface. He first covers it entirely with strips 
of strong paper, thoroughly wet, which are in 
a tub of water at his side. The slight in- 
equalities produced by the over-lapping of the 
strips are immaterial. The saturated paper 
is not suffered to dry ; but is immediately 
covered over with a layer of pasted paper, 
also cut in long narrow slips. A third layer 
of similarly pasted paper brown paper and 
white being used alternately is applied ; and 
then, a fourth, a fifth and a sixth. Here the 
pasting process ends for globes of moderate 
size. For the large ones it is carried farther. 
This wet pasteboard ball has now to be dried. 
placed upon its axis in a rack. If we were 
determined to follow the progress of this in- 
dividual ball through all its stages, we should 
have to wait a fortnight before it advanced 
another step. But as the large factory of 
Messrs. Malby and Son has many scores of 
globes all rolling onward to perfection, we 
shall be quite satisfied to witness the next 
operation performed upon a pasteboard sphere 
that began to exist some weeks earlier, and is 
now hard to the core. 

The wooden ball, with its solid paper 
covering, is placed on its axis. A sharp 
cutting instrument, fixed on a bench, is brought 
into contact with the surface of the sphere, 
which is made to revolve. In less time than 
we write, the pasteboard ball is cut in half. 
There is no adhesion to the wooden mould, for 
the first coating of paper was simply wetted. 
Two bowls of thick card now lie before us, 
with a small hole in each, made by the axis ot 
the wooden ball. But a junction is very soon 
effected. Within every globe there is a piece 
of wood we may liken it to a round ruler 
of the exact length of the inner surface of the 



86 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



sphere from pole to pole. A thick wire runs 
through this wood, and originally projected 
some two or three inches at each end. This 
stick is placed upright in a vice. The semi- 
globe is nailed to one end of the stick, upon 
which it rests, when the wire is passed 
through its centre. It is now reversed, and 
the edges of the card rapidly covered with 
glue. The edges of the other semi-globe are 
instantly brought into contact, the other end 
of the wire passing through its centre in the 
same way, and a similar nailing to the stick 
taking place. We have now a paper globe, 
\vith its own axis, which will be its companion 
for the whole term of its existence. 

The paper globe is next placed on its axis 
in a frame, of which one side is a semi-circular 
piece of metal ; the horizon of a globe cut in 
half would show its form. A tub of white 
composition, a compound of whiting, glue, 
;: id oil is on the bench. The workman dips 
his hand into this ' gruel thick and slab,' and 
r:\pidly applies it to the paper sphere with 
tolerable evenness : but as it revolves, the 
semi-circle of metal clears off the superfluous 
portions. The Ball of paper is now a ball of 
plaster externally. Tune again enters largely 
into the manufacture. The first coating must 
thoroughly dry before the next is applied ; 
and so again till the process has been repeated 
four or five times. Thus, when we visit a 
globe workshop, we are at first surprised at 
the number of white balls, from three inches 
diameter to three feet, which occupy a large 
space. They are all steadily advancing towards 
completion. They cannot be hurriedly dried. 
The duration of their quiescent state must 
depend upon the degrees of the thermometer 
in the ordinary atmosphere. They cost 
little. They consume nothing beyond a small 
amount of rent. As they advance to the 
dignity of perfect spheres, increased pains are 
taken in the application of the plaster. At 
last they are polished. Their surface is as 
hard and as fine as ivory. But, beautiful as 
they are, they may, like many other beautiful 
things, want a due equipoise. They must be 
perfectly balanced. They must move upon 
their poles with the utmost exactness. A few 
shot, let in here and there, correct all irre- 
gularities. And now the paper and plaster 
sphere is to be endued with intelligence. 

What may be called the artistical portion 
of globe-making here commences. In the 
manufactory we are describing there are two 
skilled workers, who may take rank as artists, 
but whose skill is limited, and at the same time 
perfected, by the uniformity of their opera- 
tions. One of these artists, a young woman, 
who has been familiar with the business from 
her earliest years, takes the polished globe 
in her lap, for the purpose of marking it with 
lines of direction for covering it with engraved 
strips, which will ultimately form a perfect 
map. The inspection of a finished globe will 
show that the larger divisions of longitude are 
expressed by lines drawn from pole to pole, 



and those of latitude by a series of concentric 
rings. The polished plaster has to be covered 
witlv similar lines. These lines are struck 
with great rapidity, and with mathematical 
truth, by an instrument called a ' beam com- 
pass,' in the use of which this workwoman is 
most expert. The sphere is now ready for 
receiving the map, which is engraved in four- 
teen distinct pieces. The arctic and antarctic 
poles form two circular pieces, from which the 
lines of longitude radiate. These having been 
fitted and pasted, one of the remaining twelve 
pieces, containing 30 degrees, is also pasted on 
the sphere, in the precise space where the lines 
of longitude have been previously marked, its 
lines of latitude corresponding in a similar 
manner. The paper upon which these portions 
of the earth's surface are engraved is thin and 
extremely tough. It is rubbed down with the 
greatest care, through all the stages of this 
pasting process. We have at length a globe 
covered with a plain map, so perfectly joined 
that every line and every letter fit together as 
if they had been engraved in one piece, which, 
of course, would be absolutely impossible for 
the purpose of covering a ball. 

The artist who thus covers the globe, called 
a paster, is also a colourer. This is, of neces- 
sity, a work which cannot be carried on with 
any division of labour. It is not so with the 
colouring of an atlas. A map passes under 
many hands in the colouring. A series of 
children, each using one colour, produce in 
combination a map coloured in all its parts, 
with the rapidity and precision of a machine. 
But a globe must be coloured by one hand. 
It is curious to observe the colourer working 
without a pattern. By long experience the 
artist knows how the various boundaries are 
to be defined, with pink continents, and blue 
islands, and the green oceans, connecting the 
most distant regions. To a contemplative 
mind, how many thoughts must go along with 
the work, as he covers Europe with indi- 
cations of populous cities, and has little to do 
with Africa and Australia but to mark the 
coast lines ; as year after year he has to 
make some variation in the features of the 
great American continent, which indicates the 
march of the human family over once track- 
less deserts, whilst the memorable places of 
the ancient world undergo few changes but 
those of name. And then, as he is finishing a 
globe for the cabin of some ' great ammirall,' 
may he not think that, in som.e frozen nook 
of the Arctic Sea, the friendly Esquimaux may 
:ome to gaze upon his work, and seeing how 
petty a spot England is upon the ball, wonder 
what illimitable riches nature spontaneously 
produces in that favoured region, some 01 
which is periodically scattered by her ships 
through those dreary climes in the search for 
some unknown road amidst everlasting ice- 
bergs, while he would gladly find a short track 
to the sunny south. And then, perhaps, 
liigher thoughts may come into his mind ; 
and as this toy of a world grows under hia 



Charles Dicker] THE GHOST OF THE LATE MR JAMES BAEBEE. 



87 



fingers, and as lie twists it around upon its 
material axis, he may think of the great arti- 
ficer of the universe, having the feeling, if not 
knowing, the words of the poet : 

' In ambient air this ponderous ball HE hung.' 

Contemplative, or not, the colourer steadily 
pursues his uniform labour, and the sphere is 
at length fully coloured. 

The globe has now to be varnished with a 
preparation technically known as 'white 
hard,' to which some softening matter is 
added to prevent the varnish cracking. This 
is a secret which globe-makers preserve. 
Four coats of varnish complete the work. 

And next the ball has to be mounted. We 
have already mentioned an instrument by 
which the brass meridian ring is accurately 
graduated; that is, marked with lines re- 
presenting 360 degrees, Avith corresponding 
numerals. Of whatever size the ring is, an 
index-hand, connected with the graduating 
instrument, shows the exact spot where the 
degree is to be marked with a graver. The 
operation is comparatively rapid ; but for the 
largest globes it involves considerable expense. 
After great trouble, the ingenious men whose 
manufactory we are describing have suc- 
ceeded in producing cast-iron rings, with the 
degrees and figures perfectly distinct ; and 
these applied to 36-inch globes, instead of the 
engraved meridians, make a difference of ten 
guineas in their price. For furniture they 
are not so beautiful ; for use they are quite 
as valuable. There is only one other process 
which requires great nicety. The axis of the 
globe revolves on the meridian ring, and of 
course it is absolutely necessary that the poles 
should be exactly parallel. This is effected by 
a little machine which drills each extremity 
at one and the same instant ; and the opera- 
tion is termed poleing the meridian. 

The mounting of the globe, the completion 
of a pair of globes, is now handed over to 
the cabinet-maker. The cost of the material 
and the elaboration of the workmanship 
determine the price. 

Before we conclude, we would say a few 
words as to the limited nature of the demand 
for globes. 

Our imperfect description of this manu- 
facture will have shown that experience, and 
constant application of ingenuity, have suc- 
ceeded in reducing to the lowest amount the 
labour employed in the production of globes. 
The whole population of English globe-makers 
does not exceed thirty or forty men, women, 
and boys. Globes are thus produced at the 
lowest rate of cheapness, as regards the 
number of labourers, and with very moderate 
profits to the manufacturer, on account of the 
smallness of his returns. The durability of 
globes is one great cause of the limita- 
tion of the demand. Changes of fashion, or 
caprices of taste, as to the mounting new 
geographical discoveries, and modern informa- 
tion as to the position and nomenclature of 



the stars may displace a few old globes 
annually, which then find their way from 
brokers' shops into a class somewhat below 
that of their original purchasers. But the 
pair of globes generally maintain for years 
their original position in the school-room or 
the library. They are rarely injured, and 
suffer very slight decay. The new purchasers 
represent that portion of society which is 
seeking after knowledge, or desires to manifest 
some pretension to intellectual tastes. The 
number of globes annually sold represents to 
a certain extent the advance of Education. 
But if the labour-saving expedients did not 
exist in the manufacture the cost would be 
much higher, and the purchasers greatly re- 
duced in number. The contrivances by which 
comparative cheapness is produced arise out 
of the necessity of contending against the 
durability of the article by encouraging 
a new demand. If these did not exist, 
the supply would outrun the demand ; the 
price of the article would less and less repay 
the labour expended in its production ; the 
manufacture of globes would cease till the old 
globes were worn out, and the few rich and 
scientific purchasers had again raised up a 
market. 



THE GHOST OF THE LATE 
ME. JAMES BAEBEE. 

A YARN ASHORE. 



'"Luck ! " nonsense. There is no such 
thing. Life is not a game of chance any more 
than chess is. If you lose, you have no one 
but yourself to blame.' 

This was said by a young lieutenant in the 
Eoyal Navy, to a middle-aged midshipman, 
his elder brother. 

' Do you mean to say that luck had nothing 
to do with Fine Gentleman Bobbin passing for 
lieutenant, and my being turned back ? ' was 
the rejoinder. 

' Bobbin, though a dandy, is a good seaman, 

and and .' The speaker looked another 

way, and hesitated. 

' I am not, you would add if you had 
courage. But I say I am, and a better sea- 
man than Bobbin.' 

' Practically, perhaps, for you are ten years 
older in the service. But it was in the theo- 
retical part of seamanship which is equally 
important that you broke down before the 
examiners,' continued the younger officer, 
in tones of earnest but sorrowful reproach. 
' You never would study.' 

' I '11 tell you what it is, master Ferdinand,' 
said the elderly middy, not without a show 
of displeasure. ' I don't think this is the 
correct sort of conversation to be going on 
between two brothers after a five years' 
separation.' 

The young lieutenant laid his hand sooth- 
ingly on his brother's arm, and entreated 
him to take what he said in good part. 

' Well, well ! ' rejoined the middy, with a 



88 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



laugh half-forced. ' Take care what you are 
about, or, by Jove, I '11 inform against you.' 

'What for?' 

' Why, for preaching without a license. 
Besides, you were once as bad as you pretend 
I am.' 

' I own it with sorrow ; but I was warned 
in time by the wretched end of poor James 
Barber ' 

' Of whom 1 ' asked the elder brother, starting 
back as he pushed his glass along the table. 
' You don't mean Jovial Jemmy, as we used 
to call him ; once my messmate in the brig 
"Bollock."' 

' Yes, I do.' 

' What ! dead 1 ' 

' Yes.' 

' Why, it was one of our great delights, when 
in harbour and on shore, to " go the rounds," 
as he called it with Jovial Jemmy. He 
understood life from stem to stern from 
truck to keel. He knew everybody, from the 
First Lord downwards. I have seen him re- 
cognised by the Duke one minute, and the next 
pick up with a strolling player, and familiarly 
treat him at a tavern. He once took me to a 
quadrille party at the Duchess of Durrington's, 
where he seemed to know and be known to 
everybody present, and then adjourned to the 
Cider Cellars, where he was equally intimate 
with all sorts of queer characters. Though a 
favourite among the aristocracy, he was equally 
welcome in less exclusive societies. He was 
"Brother," "Past Master," " Warden," "Noble 
Grand," or "President" of all sorts of Lodges 
and Fraternities. Uncommonly knowing was 
Jemmy in all sorts of club and fashionable 
gossip. He knew who gave the best dinners, 
and was always invited to the best balls. 
He was a capital judge of champagne, and 
when he betted upon a horse-race everybody 
backed him. He could hum all the fashion- 
able songs, and was the fourth man who could 
dance the polka when it was first imported. 
Then he was as profound in bottled stout, 
Welsh rabbits, Burton ale, devilled kidneys, 
and bowls of Bishop, as he was in Roman 
punch, French cookery, and Italian singers. 
Afloat, he was the soul of fun : he got 
up all our private theatricals, told all the 
best stories, and sung comic songs that made 
even the Purser laugh.' 

' An extent and variety of knowledge and 
accomplishments,' said Lieutenant Fid, ' which 
had the precise effect of blasting his prospects 
in life. He was, as you remember, at last 
dismissed the service for intemperance and 
incompetence.' 

' When did you see him last ? ' 

' What, alive ? ' inquired Ferdinand Fid, 
changing countenance. 

' Of course ! Surely you do not mean to 
insinuate that you have seen his ghost ! ' 

The lieutenant was silent ; and the mid- 
shipman took a deep draught of his favourite 
mixture equal portions of rum and water 
and hinted to his younger brother, the lieu- 



tenant, the expediency of immediately con- 
fiding the story to the Marines ; for he declined 
to credit it. He then ventured another re- 
commendation, which was, that Ferdinand 
should throw the impotent temperance tipple 
he was then imbibing ' over the side of the 
Ship ' which meant the tavern of that name 
in Greenwich, at the open bow-window oi 
which they were then sitting and clear his 
intellects by something stronger. 

' I can afford to be laughed at,' said the 
younger Fid, 'because I have gamed im- 
measurably by the delusion, if it be one ; but 
if ever there was a ghost, I have seen the 
ghost of James Barber. I, like yourself and 
he, was nearly ruined by love of amusement 
and intemperance, when he or whatever 
else it might have been came to my aid.' 

' Let us hear. I see I am " in " for a ghost 
story.' 

' Well ; it was eighteen forty-one when I 
came home in the " Arrow " with despatches 
from the coast of Africa : you were lying in 
the Tagus in the " Bobstay." Ours, you know, 
was rather a thirsty station ; a man inclined 
for it comes home from the Slaving Coasts 
with a determination to make up his lee way. 
I did mine with a vengeance. As xisual, I 
looked up " Jovial Jemmy." ' 

' 'Twas easy to find him if you knew where 
to go.' 

' I did know, and went. He had by that 
time got tired of his more aristocratic friends. 
Respectability was too "slow" for him, sol 
found him presiding over the " Philanthropic 
Raspers," at the " Union Jack." He received 
me with open arms, and took me, as you say, 
the " rounds." I can't recal that week's dis- 
sipation without a shudder. We rushed about 
from ball to tavern, from theatre to supper- 
room, from club to gin-palace, as if our lives 
depended on losing not a moment. We had 
not time to walk, so we galloped about in cabs. 
On the fourth night, when I was beginning to 
feel knocked up, and tired of the same songs, 
the same quadrilles, the bad whiskey, the 
suffocating tobacco smoke, and the morning's 
certain and desperate penalties, I remarked 
to Jemmy, that it was a miracle how he had 
managed to weather it for so many years, 
"What a hardship you would deem it," I 
added, " if you were obliged to go the same 
weary round from one year's end to another." ' 

1 What did he sayto that 1 ' asked Philip. 

'Why, I never saw him so taken aback. 
He looked quite fiercely at me, and replied, 
" I am obliged ! " ' 

' How did he make that out ? ' 

' Why, he had tippled and dissipated his 
constitution into such a state that use had 
become second nature. Excitement was his 
natural condition, and he dared not become 
quite sober for fear of a total collapse oi 
dropping down like a shot in the water.' 

The midshipman had his glass in his hand, 
but forebore to taste it. ' Well, what then ? ' 

' The " rounds " lasted two nights longer. 



charie. Di*e n8 .] THE GHOST OF THE LATE MR JAMES BARBER 



89 



I was fairly beaten. Cast-iron could not have 
stood it. I was prostrated in bed with fever 
and worse.' Ferdinand was agitated, and 
took a large draught of his lemonade. 

' Well, well, you need not enlarge upon that,' 
replied Phil Fid, raising his glass towards his 
lips, but again thinking better of it ; 'I heard 
how bad you were from Seton, who shaved 
your head.' 

'I had scarcely recovered when the "Arrow" 
was ordered back, and I made a vow.' 

' Took the pledge, perhaps ! ' interjected 
the mid, with a slight curl of his lip. 

' No ! I determined to work more and play 
less. We had a capital naval instructor 
aboard, and our commander was as good an 
officer as ever trod the deck. I studied a 
little too hard perhaps, for I was laid up 
again. The " Arrow " was, as usual, as good as 
her name, and we shot across to Jamaica in 
five weeks. One evening as we were lying in 
Kingston harbour, Seton, who had come over 
to join the Commodore as full surgeon, told 
me what he had never ventured to divulge 
before.' 

' What was that 1 ' 

' Why, that, on the very day I left London, 
James Barber died of a frightful attack of 
delirium tremens ! ' 

' Poor Jemmy ! ' said the elder Fid sorrow- 
fully, taking a long pull of consolation from 
his rummer. ' Little did I think, while singing 
some of your best songs off Belem Castle, that 
I had seen you for the last time ! ' 

' 1 hadn't seen him for the last time,' re- 
turned the lieutenant, with awful significance. 

Philip assumed a careless air, and said, 
'Goon.' 

' We were ordered home in eighteen forty- 
five, and paid off in January. I went to 
Portsmouth ; was examined, and passed as 
lieutenant.' 

This allusion to his brother's better con- 
dition made poor Philip look rather blank. 

' On being confirmed at the Admiralty,' 
continued Ferdinand, ' I had to give * a 
dinner to the "Arrows ; " which I did at the 
Salopian, Charing Cross. In the excess of 
my joy at promotion, my determination of 
temperance and avoidance of what is called 
" society " was swamped. I kept it up once 
more ; I went the "rounds," and accepted 
all the dinner, supper, and ball invitations I 
coiild get, invariably ending each morning 
in one of the old haunts of dissipation. Old 
associations with James Barber returned, and 
like causes produced similar effects. One 
morning while maundering home, I began to 
feel the same wild confusion as had previously 
commenced my dreadful malady.' 

' Ah ! a little touched in the top-hamper.' 

' It was just daylight. Thinking to cool 
myself, I jumped into a wherry to get pulled 
down here to Greenwich.' 

' Of course you were not quite sober.' 

' Don't ask ! I do not like even to allude 
to my sensations, for fear of recalling them. 



My brain seemed in a flame. The boat ap- 
peared to be going at the rate of twenty miles 
an hour. Fast as we were cleaving the cur- 
rent, I heard my name distinctly called out. 
I reconnoitred, but coiild see nobody. I looked 
over on one side of the gunwale, and, while 
doing so, felt something touch me from the 
other ; I felt a chill ; I turned round and 
saw ' 

' Whom ? ' asked the midshipman, holding 
his breath. 

' What seemed to be James Barber.' 

'Was he wet?' 

' As dry as you are.' 

' I summoned courage to speak. " Hallo ! 
some mistake ! " I exclaimed. 

' " Not at all," was the reply. " I 'm James 
Barber. Don't be frightened, I 'm harmless." 

< But " 

' " I know what you are going to say, " in- 
terrupted the intruder. "Seton did not de- 
ceive you I am only an occasional visitor up 
here.'' 1 

'This brought me up with a round turn, 
and I had sense enough to wish my friend 
would vanish as he came. " Where shall we 
land you 1 " I asked. 

' " Oh, any where it don't matter. I have 
got to be out every night and all night ; and 
the nights are plaguy long just now." 

' I could not muster a word. 

' " Ferd Fid," continued the voice, which 
now seemed about fifty fathoms deep ; and fast 
as we were dropping down the stream, the 
boat gave a heel to starboard, as if she had 
been broadsided by a tremendous wave "Ferd 
Fid, you recollect how I used to kill time ; howl 
sang, drank, danced, and supped all night long, 
and then slept and soda-watered it all day ? 
You remember what a happy fellow I seemed. 
Fools like yourself thought I was so ; but I 
say again, I wasn't,' ' growled the voice, letting 
itself down a few fathoms deeper. "Often 
and often I would have given the world to 
have been a market-gardener or a dealer in 
chick-weed while roaring ' He is a jolly good 
fellow,' and 'We won't go home till morn- 
ing ! ' as I emerged with a group from some 
tavern into Covent Garden market. But I 'm 
punished fearfully for my sins now. What 
do you think I have got to do every night of 
my never mind what do you think is now 
marked out as my dreadful punishment ? " 

' " Well, to walk the earth, I suppose," said I. 

'"No." 

' " To paddle about in the Thames from sun- 
set to sun-rise ?" 

' " Worse. Ha ! ha ! " (his laugh sounded 
like the booming of a gong). " I only wish 
my doom was merely to be a mud-lark. No, 
no, I 'm condemned to rush about from 
one evening party and public house to 
another. At the former I am bound for a 
certain term on each night to dance all the 
quadrilles, and a few of the polkas and 
waltzes with clumsy partners ; and then I 
have to eat stale pastry and tough poultry 



90 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



before lam let off from that place. After, I 
am bound to go to some cellar or singing 
place to listen to 'Hail, smiling morn,' 
'JMvuheer Van Dunk,' 'The monks of old,' 
'Happy land,' imitations of the London 
actors, and to hear a whole canto of <lr 
extempore verses. I must also smoke a dozen 
of cigars, knowing as in my present condi- 
tion I must know, what they are made of 
The whole to end on each night with unlimited 
brandy (British) and water, and eternal intoxi- 
cation. Oh, F. F., be warned ! be warned ! 
Take my advice ; keep up your resolution, 
and don't do it again. When afloat, drink 
nothing stronger than purser's tea. When 
on shore be temperate in your pleasures ; 
don't turn night into day ; don't exchange 
wholesome amusements for rabid debauchery, 
robust health for disease and well, I won't 
mention it. When afloat, study your pro- 
fession and don't get cashiered and cold- 
shouldered as I was. Pfomise me nay, you 
must swear ! " 

' At this word 1 thought I heard a gurgling 
sound in the water. 

'" If I can get six solemn pledges before the 
season 's over, I 'm only to go these horrid 
rounds during the meeting of Parb'ament." 

' " Will you swear?" again urged the voice, 
with persuasive agony. 

' I was just able to comply. 

'"Ten thousand thanks!" were the next 
words I heard ; " I ! m off, for there is an awful 
pint of pale ale, a chop, and a glass of brandy 
and water overdue yet, and I must devour 
them at the Shades." (We were then close 
to London Bridge.) "Don't let the waterman 
pull to shore ; I can get there without 
troubling him." 

' I remember no more. When sensation re- 
turned, I was in bed, in this very house, a 
shade worse than I had been from the previous 
attack.' 

' That,' said Philip, who had left his tum- 
bler untasted, ' must have been when you had 
your head shaved for the second time.' 

' Exactly so.' 

'And you really believe it was Jovial 
James's ghost,' inquired Fid, earnestly. 

' Would it be rational to doubt it 1 ' 

Philip rose and paced the room in deep 
thought for several minutes. He cast two or 
three earnest looks at his brother, and a few 
longing ones at his glass. In the course of 
Ms cogitation, he groaned out more than once 
an apostrophe to poor ' James Barber.' At 
length he declared his mind was made up. 

' Ferd ! ' he said, ' I told you awhile ago to 
throw your lemonade over the side of the 
Ship. Don't. Souse out my grog instead.' 

The lieutenant did as he was bid. 

'And now,' said Fid the elder, 'ring for 
soda water ; for one must drink something? 

Last year it was my own good fortune to 
sail with Mr. Philip Fid in the ' Bombottle ' 
(74). He is not exactly a tee-totaller : but 



he never drinks spirits, and will not touch 
wine unmixed with water, for fear of its in- 
terfering witli his studies, at which he is, with 
the assistance of the naval instructor (who is 
also our chaplain), assiduous. He is our first 
mate, and the smartest officer in the ship. 
Seton is our surgeon. 

One day, after a cheerful ward-room 
dinner (of which Fid was a guest), while we 
were at anchor in the bay of Cadiz, the con- 
versation happened to turn upon Jovial 
Jemmy's apparition, wliich had become the 
best authenticated ghost story in Her ]\Ia- 
jesty's Naval service. On that occasion Seton 
undertook to explain the mystery upon 
medical principles. 

' The fact is,' he said, ' what the commander 
of the " Arrow " saw (Ferdinand had by this 
time got commissioned in his old ship) was a 
spectrum, produced by that morbid condition 
of the brain, which is brought on by the im- 
moderate use of stimulants, and by dissipa- 
tion; we call it Transient Monomania. I could 
show you dozens of such ghosts in the books, 
if you only had patience while I turned them 
up.' 

Everybody declared that was unnecessary. 
We would take the doctor's word for it ; 
though I feel convinced not a soul besides the 
chaplain and myself had one iota of his faith 
shaken in the real presence of Jovial Jemmy's 
post-mortem appearance to Fid the younger. 

Ghost or no ghost, however, the story had 
had the effect of converting Philip Fid from 
one of the most intemperate and inattentive to 
one of the soberest and best of Her Majesty's 
officers. May his promotion be speedy ! 

P. CLAY, LIEUT. E.M. 

II. M. S. ' BOMISOTTLE.' 

20th March, 1850. 



THE TRUE STORY OF A COAL FIRE. 

IN THREE CHAPTERS. CHAPTER THE LAST. 



THE air blew freshly over the bright waving 
grass of a broad sloping field, on which the 
morning dews were sparkling and glancing 
in the sun. The clouds moved quickly over 
head, in clear grey and golden tints on their 
upper edges and foamy crests, with dark 
billows beneath, and their shadows chased 
each other down the green slopes of the field 
in rapid succession. Swiftly following them 
now in the midst of them now seeming to 
lead them on, a fine bay horse with flying 
mane, wild outspreading tail, and dilated 
nostrils, dashed onward exulting in his liberty, 
his strength, his speed, and all the early asso- 
ciations and influences of nature around him ! 
He was a coal-mine horse, and had beeu just 
brought up the shaft for a holiday. 

All this Flashley saw very distinctly, having 
been hastily landed at the top of the shaft, lifted 
into a tram-cart, and trundled off, he knew 
not by what enginery, till he was suddenly 
shot out on the top of a green embankment, 
and rolling down to the bottom, found himself 



Charles Dickeus.] 



THE TRUE STORY OF A COAL FIEE. 



91 



lying in a fresh green field. He enjoyed the 
action, the spirit, and every motion of the 
horse. It was the exact embodiment in ac- 
tivity of his strongest present feelings and 
impulses. He jumped up to run after the 
horse, and mount him if he could, or if not, 
scamper about the field with him in the same 
fashion. But while he sought to advance, he 
felt as if he were retreating in fact, he was 
sure of it ; the grass ran by him, instead of 
his running over it the hedges ran through 
him, instead of his passing along them the 
trees sped away before him into the distance, 
as he was carried backwards. He lost his 
legs he sank upon the air he was still 
carried backwards all the landscape faded, 
and with a loud splash he fell into the 
sea ! 

Down he sank, and fancied he saw green 
watery fields rolling on all sides, and over 
him ; and presently he heard a voice hoarsely 
calling as if from some bank above. He cer- 
tainly had heard the voice before, and recog- 
nised it with considerable awe, though the 
words it uttered were homely and unromantic 
enough. It shouted out 'Nancy, of Sunder- 
land ! boat ahoy ! ' 

By some inexplicable process though he 
clearly distinguished a boat-hook in the per- 
formance Flashley was picked up from be- 
neath the waves, and lifted into a boat. It 
was a little, dirty, black, thick-gunnelled jolly- 
boat, rowed by two men in short black over- 
shirts and smutty canvas trowsers. In the 
stern sat the captain, with his arms folded. 
A broad-brimmed tarpaulin hat shaded his 
face. They pulled alongside a ship as black 
as death, but very lively ; and a rope being 
lowered from the side, it was passed under 
Elashley's arms in a noose, and the next mo- 
ment he was hoisted on deck, and told to 
attend to his duty. 

' My duty ! ' ejaculated Flashley, ' Attend 
to my duty ! Oh, what is my duty 1 ' His 
eyes wandered round. Nothing but hard 
black planks and timbers, and masts with 
reefed sails, and rigging all covered with coal 
dust, met his gaze. The sky, however, was 
visible above him that was a great comfort. 

'Scrape these carrots and parsnips,' said 
the Captain solemnly, ' very clean, d'ye mind ! 
and take them to the cook in the galley, 
who '11 let you know what 's next. When he 
has done with you, clean my sea-boots, and 
grease them with candle-ends ; dry my pea- 
jacket, pilot-coat, and dreadnoughts ; clean 
my pipe, and fill it light, and tako three 
whiffs to start it ; mix me a glass of grog, and 
bring it with the lighted pipe ; then, go and 
lend a hand in tarring the weather-rigging, 
and stand by, to go aloft and ease down the 
fore-top-gallaut mast when the mate wants 
her on deck.' 

' Oh, heavens ! ' thought Flashley, " are 
these then my duties ! This hideous black 
ship must be a collier and I am the cabin- 
boy ! ' 



A mixed impulse of equal curiosity and 
apprehension (it certainly was from no anxiety 
to commence his miscellaneous duties) caused 
him to ' inquire his way ' to the cook's galley. 
He was presently taken to a square enclosure, 
not unlike a great black rabbit-hutch, open at 
both sides, in which he was received by a man 
of large proportions, who was seated on an 
inverted iron saucepan, smoking. The black 
visage gave a grim smile and familiar wink. 
It could not be the miner who had acted as 
his guide and companion underground ! And 
yet 

Flashley stepped back hastily, and cast an 
anxious look towards the after-part of the 
deck. There stood the Captain. A short yet 
very heavily-built figure, a kind of stunted 
giant. He was not an Indian, nor a Mulatto, 
nor an African, and yet his face was as black 
as a coal, in which several large veins rose 
prominently, and had a dull yellow tinge, as 
if they had been run with gold, or some 
metallic substance of that colour. Who could 
he be ? Some demon incog. ? No, not that 
but some one whom Flashley held hi equal 

re. 

How long poor Flashley continued to per- 
form his multifarious duties on board the 
' Nancy ' he had no idea, but they appeared at 
times very onerous, and he had to undergo 
many hardships. This was especially the case 
in the North Sea during the winter months, 
which are often of the severest kind on the 
coast between Sunderland and the mouth of 
the Thames. The rigging was all frozen, so 
that to lay hold of a rope seemed to take the 
skin off his hand ; the cold went to the bone, 
and he hardly knew if his hands were struck 
through with frost, or by a hot iron. The 
decks were all slippery with ice, so were the 
ladders down to the cabins, and the cook's 
galley was garnished all round with large 
icicles, from six inches to a foot and a half m 
length, which kept up a continual drip, drip, 
on all sides, by way of complimentary acknow- 
ledgment of the caboose-fire inside. Sometimes 
the wind burst the side-doors open blew the 
fire clean out of the caboose, and scattered the 
live and dead coals all over the deck, or whirled 
them into the sea. One night the galley 
itself, with all its black and smutty parapher- 
nalia, was torn up and blown overboard. It 
danced about on the tops of the waves made 
deep curtseys swept up the side of a long 
billow was struck by a cross- wave, and dis- 
appeared in a hundred black planks and 
splinters. That same night Flashley was 
called up from his berth to go aloft and lend 
a hand to close-reef the main-topsail. The 
sail was all frozen, and so stiff that he could 
not raise it ; but as he hauled on one of the 
points, the point broke, and something hap- 
pened to him, he did not know what, but he 
thought he fell backwards, and the wind flew 
away with him. 

The next thing he remembered was that of 
lying in his berth with a bandage round one 



92 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



LConUucteil by 



arm, ami a large patch on one side of his head, 
while the cook sat on a sea-chest by his side 
reading to him. 

A deep splashing plunge was now heard, 
followed by the rapid rumbling of an iron 
chain along the deck overhead. The collier 
had arrived off' Kotherhithe, and cast anchor. 

' Up, Flashley ! ' cried the cook ; ' on deck, 
my lad ! to receive the whippers who are 
coming alongside.' 

' What for 1 ' exclaimed Flashley ; ' why 
am I to be whipped ? ' 

' It is not you,' said the cook, laughing 
gruffly, as he ran up the ladder, ' but the 
coal-baskets that are to be whipped up, and 
discharged into the lighter.' 

The deck being cleared, and the main 
hatchway opened, a small iron wheel (called 
gin) was rigged out on a rope passing over 
the top of a spar (called derrick) at some 18 
or 20 feet above the deck. Over this wheel 
a rope was passed, to which four other ropes 
were attached lower down. These were for 
the four whippers. At the other end of the 
wheel-rope was slung a basket. A second 
basket stood upon the coals, where four men 
also stood with shovels two to fill each 
basket, one being always up and one down. 
The whippers had a stage raised above the 
deck, made of five rails, which they ascended 
for the pull, higher and higher as the coals 
got lower in the hold. The two baskets-full 
were the complement for one measure. The 
' measure ' was a black angular wooden box 
with its front placed close to the vessel's side, 
just above a broad trough that slanted to- 
wards the lighter. Beside the measure stood 
the ' meter,' (an elderly personage with his 
head and jaws bound up in a bundle-hand- 
kerchief, to protect him from the draughts,) 
who had a piece of chalk in one hand, while 
with the other he was ready to raise a latch, 
and let all the coals burst out of the measure 
into the trough, by the fall of the front part of 
the box. The measure was suspended to one 
end of a balance, a weight being attached to 
the other, so that the weighing and measur- 
ing were performed by one process under the 
experienced, though rheumatic, eye of the 
meter. 

The whippers continued at their laborious 
work all day ; and as the coals were taken 
out of the hold, (the basket descending lower 
and lower as the depth increased,) the ' whip- 
pers ' who hauled up, gave their weight to 
the pull, and all swung down from their 
ricketty rails with a leap upon the deck, as 
the basket ran up ; ascending again to their 
position while the basket was being emptied 
into the trough. 

The lighter had five compartments, called 
' rooms,' each holding seven tons of coals ; 
and when these were filled, the men some- 
time." lienped coals all over them from one 
cud of the craft to the other, as high up as 
the combings, or side-ridges, would afford 
protection for the heap. By these means a 



lighter could caiTy forty-two tons, and up- 
wards ; and some of the craft having no 
separate 'rooms,' but an open hold, fore and aft, 
could carry between fifty and fifty-five tuns. 

A canal barge or monkey-boat (so called 
we presume from being very narrow in 
the loins) now came alongside, and having 
taken in her load of coals, the friendly 
cook of the ' Nancy ' expressed an anxiety 
that Flashley should lose no opportunity of 
gaining all possible experience on the subject 
of coals, and the coal-trade generally, and 
therefore proposed to him a canal trip, having 
already spoken with the ' captain of the 
barge ' on the subject. Before Flashley 
had time to object, or utter a demur, he 
was handed over the side, and pitched neatly 
on his legs on the after-part of the barge, close 
to a little crooked iron chimney, sticking 
blackly out of the deck, and sending forth a 
dense cloud of the dirtiest and most un- 
savoury smoke. The captain was standing 
on the ladder of the cabin, leaning on his 
great arms and elbows over the deck, and 
completely filling up the small square hatch- 
way, so that all things being black alike, it 
seemed as if this brawny object were some 
live excrescence of the barge, or huge black 
mandrake whose roots were spread about 
beneath, and, perhaps, here and there, sending 
a speculative straggler through a chink into 
the water. 

The mandrake's eyes smiled, and he showed 
a very irregular set of large white and yellow 
teeth, as he scrunched down through the 
small square hole to enable the young pas- 
senger and tourist to descend. 

Flashley, with a forlorn look up at the sky, 
and taking a good breath of fresh air to fortify 
him for what his nose already warned him he 
would have to encounter, managed to get 
down the four upright bars nailed close to the 
bulk-head, and called the ' ladder.' 

He found himself in a small aperture of no 
definite shape, and in which there was only 
room for one person to ' turn ' at a time. Yet 
five living creatures were already there, and 
apparently enjoying themselves. There was 
the captain, and there was his wife, and there 
was a child in the wife's right arm, and 
another of five years old packed against her 
left side, and there was the ' crew ' of the 
barge, which consisted, for the present, of one 
boy of sixteen, of very stunted growth, and 
with one eye turning inwards to such a degree 
that sometimes the sight literally darted out, 
seeming to shoot beneath the bridge of his 
nose. They were all sitting, or rather 
hunched up, at ' tea.' The place had an over- 
whelming odour of coal-smoke, and tobacco 
smoke, and brown sugar, and onions, to say 
nothing of general ' closeness,' and the steam 
of a wet blanket-coat, which was lying in a 
heap to dry before the little iron stove. The 
door of this was open, and the fire shone 
brightly, and seemed to ' wink ' at Flashley as 
he looked that way. 



Charles Dickens.., 



THE TRUE STORY OF A COAL FIRE. 



93 



' Here we are ! ' said a strange voice. 

Flasliley looked earnestly into the stove. 
He thought the voice came from the fire. 
The coals certainly looked very glowing, and 
shot out what a German or other imaginative 
author would call significant sparks. 

' Here we are ! ' said the voice from another 
part of the cabin, and, turning in that direc- 
tion, Flashley found that it proceeded from 
the ' crew,' who had contrived to stand up, 
and was endeavouring to give a close 
imitation of the ' clown,' on his first ap- 
pearance after transformation. This, by 
the help of his odd eye, was very significant 
indeed. 

And here they were, no dovibt, and here 
they lived from day to day, and from night to 
night ; and a pretty wretched, dirty, mono- 
tonous life it was. Having once got into a 
canal, with the horse at his long tug, the 
tediousness of the tune was not easily to be 
surpassed. From canal to river, and from 
river to canal, there was scarcely any variety, 
except in the passage through the locks, the 
management of the rope in passing another 
barge-horse on the tow-path, and the means 
to be employed in taking the horse over a 
bridge. The duty of driving the horse along 
the tow-path, as may be conjectured, fell to 
the lot of our young tourist. Once or 
twice, ' concealed by the murky shades of 
night,' as a certain novelist would express it, 
he had ventured to mount the horse's back ; 
but the animal, not relisliing this addition to 
his work, always took care, when they passed 
under a bridge, or near a wall, or hard em- 
bankment, to scrape his rider's leg along the 
side, so that very little good was got in that 
way. And once, when Flashley had a ' holi- 
day,' and was allowed to walk up and down 
the full length of the barge upon the top of 
the coals, a sudden bend in the river brought 
them close upon a very low wooden bridge, 
just when he was at the wrong end of the 
barge for making a dive to save his head. 
Flashley ran along the top as fast as he could, 
but the rascally horse seemed to quicken his 
pace, under the captain's mischievous lash, so 
that finding the shadow of the bridge running 
at him before he could make his leap from the 
top of the coals, he was obliged to save him- 
self from being violently knocked off, by 
jumping hastily into the canal, to the infinite 
amusement and delight of the captain, his 
wife, and the ' crew.' The horse being 
stopped, the captain came back and lugged 
him out of the bulrushes just as he had got 
thoroughly entangled, and immersed to the 
chin ; knee-deep in mud, and with frogs and 
eels skeeling and striking out in all directions 
around him. 

After a week or ten days passed in this 
delightful manner, Flashley found the barge 
was again on the Thames, no longer towed by 
a horse and rope, but by a little dirty steam- 
t-ag. They stopped on meeting a lighter on 
its way up with the tide, and Flashley being 



told to step on board, was received by his 
grim but good-natured companion and in- 
structor, the cook of the ' Nancy,' now going 
up with a load to Bankside, and performing 
the feat of managing two black oars of enor- 
mous length and magnitiide. They were 
worked in large grooves in each side of the 
lighter, one oar first receiving all the strength 
of this stupendous lighterman (late cook) with 
his feet firmly planted on a cross-beam in 
front, so as to add to the mighty pull of his 
arms, all the strength of his legs, as well as 
all the weight of his body. Having made 
this broad sweep and deep, he left the oar 
lying along the groove, and went to the one 
on the other side, with which he performed a 
similar sweep. 

' Here 's a brig with all sails set, close upon 
us ! ' cried Flashley. 

' She 'd best take care of herself ;' said our 
lighterman, as he went on deliberately to 
complete his long pull and strong. 

Bump came the brig's starboard bow 
against the lighter ; and instantly heeling 
over with a lift and a lurch, the former reeled 
away to leeward, a row of alarmed but more 
enraged faces instantly appearing over the 
bulwarks those ' aft ' with eyes flashing on 
the lighterman, and those ' for'ard,' anxiously 
looking over to see if the bows had been 
stove in. A volley of anathemas followed our 
lighterman ; who, however, continued slowly 
to rise and sink backward with his prodigious 
pull, apparently not hearing a word, or even 
aware of what had happened. 

In this way they went up the river among 
sailing-vessels of all kinds, and between the 
merchants' ' forest of masts,' like some huge 
antediluvian water-reptile deliberately wind- 
ing its way up a broad river between the 
woods of a region unknown to man. 

But here 's a steamer !' shouted Flashley. 
' We shall be run down, or she '11 go slap 
over us ! ' 

The man at the wheel, however, knew 
better. He had dealt with lightermen before 
to-day. He therefore turned off the sharp 
nose of the steamer, so as not merely to clear 
it, but dexterously to send the ' swell ' in a 
long rolling swath up against the lighter, 
over which it completely ran, leaving the per- 
former at the oars drenched up to the hips, 
and carrying" Flashley clean overboard. He 
was swept away in the rolling Avave, and 
might have been drowned, had not a coal- 
heaver at one of the wharfs put off a skiff to 
his rescue. 

So now behold Flasliley at work among 
the wharfingers of Bankside. 

Before the coals are put into the sack, they 
undergo a process called 'screening.' This 
consists in throwing them up against a slant- 
ing sieve of iron wire, through which the 
fine coal and coal-dust runs : all that falls on 
the outer side of the screen is then sacked. 
But many having found that the coals are 
often broken still moi'e by this process, to 



94 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



their loss, (as few people will buy the small 
coal and dust, except at breweries and water- 
works), they have adopted the plan of a 
round sieve held in the hand, and filled by a 
shovel. The delightful and lucrative appoint- 
ment of holding the sieve was, of course, con- 
fiTivd upon Flashley. His shoulders and 
arms ached as though they would drop off 
long before his day's work was done ; but 
what he gained in especial, was the fine coal- 
dust which the wind earned into his face 
often at one gust, filling his eyes, mouth, 
nostrils, and the windward ear. 

In the condition to which this post soon 
brought his 'personal appearance,' Flashley 
was one morning called up at five to go with 
a waggon-load of coals a few miles into the 
country, ia company with two coalheavers and 
a carman. Up he got. And off they went. 

Flashley, having worked hard all the pre- 
vious day, was in no sprightly condition on 
his early rising ; so, by the time the waggon 
had got beyond the outskirts of London, and 
begun to labour slowly up hill with its heavy 
load, he was fain to ask in a humble voice of 
the head coalheaver, permission to lay hold 
of a rope which dangled behind, in order to 
help himself onwards. This being granted 
with a smile, the good-nature of which (and 
how seldom do we meet with a coalheaver 
who is not a good-natured fellow) shone even 
through his dust-begrimed visage, Flashley 
continued to follow the waggon till he had 
several times nearly gone to sleep ; and was 
only reminded of the fact by a stumble which 
brought him with his nose very near the 
ground. The head coalheaver, observing this, 
took compassion on him ; and being a gigantic 
man, laid hold of Flashley's trowsers, and 
with one lift of his arm deposited the young 
man upon the top of the second tier of coal- 
sacks. There he at once resigned himself to 
a delicious repose. 

The waggon meanwhile pursued its heavy 
journey, with an occasional pause for a slight 
leuing of the mouth of men and horses. 
At length the removal of one or two of the 
upper tier of sacks caused Flashley to raise 
his drowsy head, and look round him. 

The waggon had pulled up close to a garden- 

, on the other side of which were a crowd 

of apple-trees. The ripe fruit loaded the 

1 tranches till they hung in a vista, beneath 

which the sacks of coals had to be carried. 

All the horses had their nose-bags on, and 

were very busy. It was a bright autumn day ; 

the sun was fast setting ; a rich beam of 

. -mi and gold cast its splendours over the 

! <:n, and lighted np the ripe apples to a 

most romantic degree. 

The garden gates were thrown open ; the 
passage of coal-sacks beneath the hanging 
boughs commenced. 

Not an apple was knocked down, even by 
the tall figure of the leading coalheaver. 
Stooping and dodging, and gently humouring 
a special difficulty, he performed his walk of 



thirty yards, and more, till he turned the 
shrubbery corner, and thence made, his way 
into the coal-cellar. His companion followed 
him, in turn, imitating his great example ; 
and, if we make exception of three lemon- 
pippins and a codlin, with equal success. But 
where these accidental apples fell, there they 
remained; none were promoted to mouth or 
pocket. 

It was now half-past four, and ' the milk ' 
arriving at the gate, was deposited in its little 
tin can on a strawberry bed just beyond the 
gate-post. The head coalheaver's turn with 
his load being next, he observed the milk as 
he approached, and bending his long legs, by 
judicious gradations, till he reached 'the little 
can with the fingers of his left hand, balancing 
the sack of coals at the same time, so that not 
a fragment tumbled out of the open mouth, 
he slowly rose again to his right position, 
holding out the can at arm's length to prevent 
any coal-dust finding its way to the delicate 
surface within. In this fashion, with tenfold 
care bestowed on the ounce and a half in his 
left hand, to that which he gave to the two 
hundred weight of coals on his back (not 
reckoning the sack, which, being an old and 
patched one, weighed fifteen pounds more) 
the coalheaver made his way, stooping and 
sideling beneath the apple-boughs as before, 
all of which he passed without knocking a 
single apple down, and deposited the little 
can in the hands of an admiring maid- 
servant, as he passed the kitchen window on 
his way to the coal-cellar. 

After the sacks had all been shot in the 
cellar, and the hats of each man filled with 
apples by the applauding master of the house, 
the counting of the empty sacks commenced. 
Having been thrice exhorted to be present at 
this ceremony by a wise neighbour, who stood 
looking on anxiously, from the next garden, 
with his nostrils resting on the top of the 
wall, the owner of the apple garden went 
forth to the gate, and with a grave counte- 
nance beheld the sacks counted. Orders 
for beer being then g> fen on the nearest 
country alehouse, the eoalheavers carefully 
gathered up all the odd coals which had fallen 
here and there, then swept the paths, and 
with hot and smiling visages took their de- 
parture, slowly lounging after the waggon 
and stretching their brawny arms and backs 
after their herculean work. 

As the men thus proceeded down the wind- 
ing lane, crunching apples, and thinking of beer 
to follow, the carman was the first to speak. 

' How cute the chap was arter they sacks ! ' 
said he with a grin, and half turning round to 
look back. 

' There 's a gennelman,' said the head coal- 
heaver, ' as don't ought to be wronged out of 
the vally of that!' the amount in question 
being a pinch of coal-dust which the speaker 
took up from one side of the waggon, and 
sprinkled in the air. 

' He allus gives a ticket for beer,' said the 



Charles Dickens.] 



THE TEUE STOKY OF A COAL FIRE. 



95 



second coal-heaver, ' but last time the apples 
warn't ripe.' 

' He counted the sacks nation sharp, how- 
sever,' pursued the carman with a very 
knowing look. 

At this both the coal-heavers laughed 
loudly. 

' Ah ! ' said the second coalheaver ; ' people 
think that makes all sure. They don't think 
of the ease of bringing an empty sack with 
us, after dropping a full one by the way. 
Not they. Nobody yet was ever wise 
enough to count the full sacks when they 
first come.' 

On hearing this, the carman's face presented 
a confounded and perplexed look of irritated 
stupidity, marked in such very hard lines, 
that the coalheavers laughed for the next 
five minutes with the recollection of it. 

Towards dusk the waggon returned to the 
wharf, and next day Flashley resumed his 
usual duties. * 

One morning, after several hours' work with 
the sieve in ' screening,' when his face and 
hands were, if possible, more hopelessly black 
than they had ever been before, Flashley was 
called to take a note to a merchant at the 
Coal Exchange. This merchant's name seemed 
rather an unusual one to meet with in England 
being no less a person than Haji Ali Cama- 
ralzaman and Co. 

The merchant was a short, solid-built 
figure, and stood with a heavy immobility 
that gave the effect of a metallic image rather 
than a man. He was a Moor, though nearly 
black, and with very sparkling eyes. He was 
dressed in a long dark blouse, open at the 
breast, and displaying a black satin waistcoat, 
embroidered with golden sprigs and tendrils. 
It seemed to Flashley that he spoke a foreign 
language ; and yet he understood him, though 
without having any idea what language it 
was. Something passed between them in a 
very earnest tone, almost a whisper, about 
Sinbad the Sailor, and a sort of confused dis- 
cussion as to the geographical position of the 
Valley of Black Diamonds ; also, if coals were 
ever burnt in the east ; then a confused voice 
from within the hall called out loudly, ' The 
North Star ! ' to which a chorus of coal-mer- 
chants responded in a low chant, 'What 
money does he owe the divan 1 ' 

' Yes,' said the great Camaralzaman, ' and 
what lost time does he owe to nature and to 
knowledge ? Let the North Star look to it.' 

' It does, great Sir ! ' responded the chorus 
of coal-merchants, in the same low chant. 
'It shines directly over the shaft of the 
William Pitt mine.' 

' Enough,' said Camaralzaman. 

At this all the merchants fell softly into a 
heap of white ashes. 

Then the Moor, turning to Flashley, said, 
' You must reflect a little on all these 'things. 
Coals are more valuable to the world than the 
riches of other mines more important than 
gold and silver, and diamonds of the first 



water, because they are the means of ad* 
vancing and extending the comforts and re- 
finements of life the industrial arts, the 
trades, the ornamental arts. Are not these 
great things ? Behold, there are greater yet 
which are indebted to the coal-fires. For, 
may I not name Science, Agriculture (in the 
making of iron, and the steam-ploughs which 
are forthcoming), Commerce and Navigation. 
Moreover, do they not tend, by the generation 
of steam, to annihilate space and time, and are 
they not rapidly carrying knowledge and civili- 
sation to the remotest corners of the habitable 
globe 1 By myriads of jets, in countless forms, 
they turn the dark night into the brightness 
of day. Their history commences from the 
infancy of the earth ; they proceed through 
gradations of wonders ; are no less wonderful 
in the varieties and magnitude of their utility, 
and do not cease to be of use to man, even 
when the bright fire is utterly extinguished, 
and its materials can no more be re-illumined, 
but are claimed for the garden and the brick- 
field, not by the dinging and tolling of the 
bell-man of your grandsires, but by the long- 
drawn wail of the queer-kneed dusky figure in 
the flap- hat, who wanders down your streets 
yowling ' 'Sto e ! o e ! ' 

' And is it then all over 1 Verily, it doth 
appear when the coal fire is fairly burnt 
out to cinders and ashes, that it hath per- 
formed its complete circle, and is for ever 
ended. It is not so. The antediluvian forests 
absorbed the gases of the atmosphere ; much 
of these have been drawn off, and appro- 
priated, but some portions have remained 
locked up and hidden in the depths of the 
earth ever since. Lo ! the coal-fire is lighted ! 
flames, for the first time, ascend from it. 
Then, also for the first tune, are liberated 
gases which are of the date of those primaeval 
forests ; they ascend into the atmosphere, and 
once more form a portion of those elements 
which are again to assist in the growth of 
forests. The Coal-Spirit has then performed 
his grand cycle and recommences his journey 
through future cycles of formation.' 

A great blaze of light now smote across 
the hall, in which everything vanished. Then 
passed a rushing panorama through Flashley's 
brain, wherein he saw whirling by, the stage 
of a saloon theatre, with a lighted cigar and 
two tankards dancing a ridiculous ree], till 
the whole scene changed to a melancholy 
swamp, out of which arose, to solemn music, 
an antediluvian forest. The Elfin of the 
Coal-mine came and stood in the midst, and 
some one held an iron umbrella over Flashley's 
head, which instantly caused him to sink 
deep through the earth, and he soon found 
himself crawling in a dark trench termi- 
nating in a chasm looking out upon the sea. 
He was immediately whisked across by a black 
eagle, and dropped in a bright-green field, 
where he met a tall dusky figure carrying a 
sack of coals and a ' ha'p'orth' of milk ; but just 
as he was about to speak to him, a voice called 



96 



HOUSEHOLD WOEDS. 



out ' Nancy ! ' and all was darkness, while 
through the horrid gloom In- saw the glaring 
cvr-lial! of a horse. ' Camaral/.aman ! ' cried 
the voice again: 'Have you been sleeping 
here all night in the arm-chair ?' Then a vivid 
flame shot over Flashley's eyelids there was 
a great lire blazing before him, in the midst 
of which he saw the head of the Elfin, 
who gave him a nod full of meaning, and 
also like bidding farewell, and disappeared 
in the fire, while at his side stood Margery 
with the carpet-broom. 

It was six in the morning, and she had just 
lighted the parlour fire. Without replying to 
any of her interrogations of surprise, Flashley 
slowly rose, and went out to take a few turns 
round the garden ; where he fell into a train 
of thought which, in all probability, will have 
a salutary influence on his future life. 

SUPPOSING ! 



SUPPOSING, we were to change the Property 
and Income Tax a little, and make it some- 
what heavier on realised property, and some- 
what lighter on mere income, fixed and un- 
certain, I wonder whether we should be com- 
mitting any violent injustice ! 

Supposing, we were to be more Christian 
and less mystical, agreeing more about the 
spirit and fighting less about the letter, I 
wonder whether we should present a very 
irreligious and indecent spectacle to the mass 
of mankind ! 

Supposing, the Honorable Member for 
White troubled his head a little less about 
the Honorable Member for Black, and vice 
versa, and that both applied themselves a little 
more in earnest to the real business of the 
honorable people and the honorable country, I 
wonder whether it would be unparliamentary ! 

Supposing, that, when there was a surplus 
in the Public Treasury, we laid aside our own 
particular whims, and all agreed that there 
were four elements necessary to the existence 
of our fellow creatures, to wit, earth, air, fire, 
and water, and that these were the first grand 
necessaries to be tincooped and untaxed, I 
wonder whether it would be unreasonable ! 

Supposing, we had at this day a Baron 
Jenner, or a Viscount Watt, or an Earl 
Stephenson, or a Marquess of Brunei, or a 
dormant Shakespeare peerage, or a Hogarth 
baronetcy, I wonder whether it would be 
cruelly disgraceful to our old nobility ! 

Supposing, we were all of us to come off 
our pedestals and mix a little more with 
those below us, with no fear but that genius, 
rank, and wealth, would always sufficiently 
assert their own superiority, I wonder 
whether we should lower ourselves beyond 
retrieval ! 

Supposing, we were to have less botheration 
and more r. al education, I wonder whether 
we should have less or more compulsory 
colonisation, and Cape of Good Hope very 
natural indignation ! 



Supposing, we were materially to simplify 
the laws, and to abrogate the absurd fiction 
that everybody is supposed to be acquainted 
with them, when we know very well that 
such acquaintance is the study of a life in 
which some fifty men may have been pro- 
ficient perhaps in five times fifty years, I 
wonder whether laws would be respected 
less? 

Supposing, we maintained too many of such 
fictions altogether, and found their stabling 
come exceedingly expensive ! 

Supposing, we looked about us, and seeing 
a cattle-market originally established in an 
open place, standing in the midst of a great 
city because of the unforeseen growth of that 
great city all about it, and, hearing it asserted 
that the market was still adapted to the re- 
quirements and conveniences of the great city, 
made up our minds to say that this was stark- 
mad nonsense and we wouldn't bear it, I 
wonder whether we should be revolutionary ! 

Supposing, we were to harbour a small 
suspicion that there was too much doing in 
the diplomatic line of business, and that the 
world would get on better with that shop 
shut up three days a-week, I wonder whether 
it would be a huge impiety ! 

Supposing, Governments were to consider 
public questions less \vith reference to their 
own time, and more with reference to all 
time, I wonder how we should get on then ! 

Supposing, the wisdom of our ancestors 
should turn out to be a mere phrase, and that 
if there were any sense in it, it should 
follow that we ought to be believers in the 
worship of the Druids at this hour, I wonder 
whether any people would have talked mere 
moonshine all their lives ! 

Supposing, we were clearly to perceive that 
we cannot keep some men out of their share 
in the administration of affairs, and were to 
say to them, ' Come, brothers, let us take 
counsel together, and see how we can best 
manage this ; and don't expect too much 
from what you get ; and let us all in our 
degree put our shoulders to the wheel, and 
strive ; and let us all improve ourselves and 
all abandon something of our extreme opinions 
for the general harmony,' I wonder whether 
we should want so many special constables 
on any future tenth of April, or should 
talk so much about it any more ! 

I wonder whether people who are quite 
easy about anything, usually do talk quite so 
much about it ! 

Mr. Lane, the traveller, tells us of a super- 
stition the Egyptians have, that the mischievous 
Genii are driven away by iron, of which they 
have an instinctive dread. Supposing, this 
shotild foreshadow the disappearance of the 
evil spirits and ignorances besetting this earth, 
before the iron steam-engines and roads, I 
wonder whether we could expedite their flight 
at all by iron energy ! 

Supposing, we were just to try two or three 
of these experiments ! 



Mied at the Office, No 16. Wellington St;-t North. Strand. Printed by BRAEBUBT * ETASS, Whitefriars, London 



" Familiar in their Mouths as HOUSEHOLD WORDS." SUAKE 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 

A WEEKLY JOURNAL. 
CONDUCTED BY CHARLES DICKENS. 



SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 1850. 



[PRICK Id. 



PET PRISONERS. 



THE system of separate confinement, first 
experimented on in England at the model 
prison, Pentonville, London, and now spread- 
ing through the country, appears to us to 
require a little calm consideration and reflec- 
tion on the part of the public. We purpose, 
in this paper, to suggest what we consider 
some grave objections to this system. 

We shall do this temperately, and without 
considering it necessary to regard every one 
from whom we differ, as a scoundrel, actuated 
by base motives, to whom the most unprinci- 
pled conduct may be recklessly attributed. Our 
faith in most questions where the good men 
are represented to be all pro, and the bad men 
to be all con, is very small. There is a hot 
class of riders of hobby-horses in the field, in 
this century, who think they do nothing unless 
they make a steeple-chase of their object; 
throw a vast quantity of mud about, and spurn 
every sort of decent restraint and reasonable 
consideration under their horses' heels. This 
question has not escaped such championship. 
It has its steeple- chase riders, who hold the 
dangerous principle that the end justifies any 
means, and to whom no means, truth and fair- 
dealing usually excepted, come amiss. 

Considering the separate system of impri- 
sonment, here, solely in reference to England, 
we discard, for the purpose of this discussion, 
the objection founded on its extreme severity, 
which would immediately arise if we were 
considering it with any reference to the State 
of Pennsylvania in America. For whereas in 
that State it may be inflicted for a dozen years, 
the idea is quite abandoned at home of extend- 
ing it usually, beyond a dozen months, or in 
any case beyond eighteen months. Besides 
which, the school and the chapel afford periods 
of comparative relief here, which are not 
afforded in America. 

Though it has been represented by the 
steeple-chase riders as a most enormous heresy 
to contemplate the possibility of any prisoner 
going mad or idiotic, under the prolonged 
effects of separate confinement ; and although 
any one who should have the temerity to main- 
tain such a doubt in Pennsylvania would have 
a chance of becoming a profane St. Stephen ; 
Lord Grey, in his very last speech in the House 
of Lords on this subject, made in the present 



session of Parliament, in praise of this se- 
parate system, said of it : ' Wherever it has 
been fairly tried, one of its great defects has 
been discovered to be this, that it cannot be 
continued for a sufficient length of time with- 
out danger to the individual, and that human 
nature cannot bear it beyond a limited period. 
The evidence of medical authorities proves 
beyond dispute that, if it is protracted beyond 
twelve months, the health of the convict, 
mental and physical, would require the most 
close and vigilant superintendence. Eighteen 
months is stated to be the maximum, time for 
the continuance of its infliction, and, as a 
general rule, it is advised that it never be 
continued for more than twelve months.' 
This being conceded, and it being clear that 
the prisoner's mind, and all the apprehen- 
sions weighing upon it, must be influenced 
from the first hour of his imprisonment by 
the greater or less extent of its duration in 
perspective before him, we are content to 
regard the system as dissociated in England 
from the American objection of too great 
severity. 

We shall consider it, first in the relation of 
the extraordinary contrast it presents, in a 
country circumstanced as England is, between 
the physical condition of the convict in prison, 
and that of the hard-working man outside, or 
the pauper outside. We shall then enquire, 
and endeavour to lay before our readers some 
means of judging, whether its proved or 
probable efficiency in producing a real, trust- 
worthy, practically repentant state of mind, 
is such as to justify the presentation of that 
extraordinary contrast. If, in the end, we 
indicate the conclusion that the associated 
silent system is less objectionable, it is not 
because we consider it in the abstract a good 
secondary punishment, but because it is a 
severe one, capable of judicious administra- 
tion, much less expensive, not presenting the 
objectionable contrast so strongly, and not 
calculated to pet and pamper the mind of the 
prisoner and swell his sense of his own im- 
portance. We are not acquainted with any 
system of secondary punishment that we think 
reformatory, except the mark system of 
Captain Maceonnochie, formerly governor of 
Norfolk Island, which proceeds upon the prin- 
ciple of obliging the convict to some exercise 
of self-denial and resolution in every act of his 



98 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



prison lift. 1 , and which would condemn him to 
a sentence of so much labour and good coin 1 1 1 > : 
iiistc;id of so much time. There are details 
in ( 'upturn iMaeconnochir' on vhirh 

we !' 'oiibts (rigid silence wo consider 

indispensable) ; but, in the main, we regard it 
as embodying sound and wiVc- principles. 
We infer from the writings of Archbishop 
Whateley, that th so pr i ; i - 1 1 ! ,< < 1 

themselves to his profound and acute mind in 
a similar light. 

We will first contrast the dietary of The 
Model Prison at Pentonville, with the dietary 
of what we take to be the nearest workhouse, 
namely, that ,of Saint Pancras. In the prison, 
every man receives twenty-eight ounces of 
mc:;t weekly. In the workhouse, every able- 
bodied adult receives eighteen. In the prison, 
eveiy man receives one hundred and forty 
ounces of bread weekly. In the workhouse, 
every able-bodied adult receives ninety-six. 
In the prison, every man receives one hundred 
and twelve ounces of potatoes weekly. In the 
workhouse, every able-bodied adult receives 
thirty-six. In the prison, every man receives 
five pints and a quarter of liquid cocoa weekly, 
(made of flaked cocoa or cocoa-nibs), with four- 
teen ounces of milk and forty-two drams of 
molasses ; also seven pints of gruel weekly, 
sweetened with forty-two drams of molasses. 
In the workhouse, every able-bodied adult 
receives fourteen pints and a half of milk- 
porridge weekly, and no cocoa, and no gruel. 
In the prison, every man receives three pints 
and a half of soup weekly. In the workhouse, 
every able-bodied adult male receives four 
pints and a half, and a pint of Irish stew. 
This, with seven pints of table-beer weekly, 
and six ounces of cheese, is all the man in the 
workhouse has to set off against the immensely 
superior advantages of the prisoner in all the 
other respects we have stated. His lodging is 
very inferior to the prisoner's, the costly 
nature of whose accommodation we shall pre- 
sently show. 

Let us reflect upon this contrast in another 
aspect. We beg the reader to glance once 
more at The Model Prison dietary, and con- 
sider its frightful disproportion to the dietary 
of the free labourer in any of the rural parts 
of England. What shall we take his wages at ? 
Will twelve shillings a week do ? It cannot 
be called a low average, at all events. Twelve 
shillings a week make thirty-one pounds four 
a year. The cost, in 1848, for the victualling 
and management of every prisoner in the 
Model Prison \v:is within a little of thirty-six 
pounds. Consequently, that free laboi 
with yoxtng children to support, with cot ; 
rent to pay, and clothes to buy, and no :! 
vantage of purchasing his food in large 
amounts by contract, has, for the whole sub- 
sistence of himself and family, between four 
and five pounds a year less than the cost of 
feeding and overlooking one man in the Model 
Prison. Surely to his enlightened mind, and 
sometimes low morality, this must be an 



extraordinary good reason for keeping out 
of it! 

But we will not confine ourselves to the 
contrast between the l.'ibourer's scanty ; 
and the prisoner's 'flaked cocoa or cocoa-nibs,' 
and daily dinner of soup, meat, and potatoes. 
We will rise a little higher in the scale. Let 
us see what advertisers in the Times news- 
paper can board the middle classes at, and get 
a profit out of, too. 

\ LADY, residing in a cottage, with a large gar- 
^ den, in a pleasant and healthful locality, would 
be happy to receive one or two LADIES to 
BOARD with her. Two ladies occupying the 
same apartment may be accommodated for 12s. 
a week each. The cottage is within a quarter of 
an hour's walk of a good market town, 10 minutes' 
of a South- Western Railway Station, and an hour's 
distance from town. 

These two ladies could not be so cheaply 
boarded in the Model Prison. 

"HOARD and RESIDENCE, at 70 per annum, 
-*-* for a married couple, or in proportion for a 
single gentleman or lady, with a respectable family. 
Rooms large and airy, in an eligible dwelling, at 
Islington, about 20 minutes' walk from the Bank. 
Dinner hour six o'clock. There are one or two 
vacancies to complete a small, cheerful, and agree- 
able circle. 

Still cheaper than the Model Prison ! 

T)OARD and RESIDENCE. A lady, keeping a 
-*-' select school, in a town, about 30 miles from 
London, would be happy to meet with a LADY 
to BOARD and RESIDE with her. She would 
have her own bed-room and a sitting-room. Any 
lady wishing for accomplishments would find this 
desirable. Terms 30 per annum. References 
will be expected and given. 

Again, some six poxinds a year less than the 
Model Prison ! And if we were to pursue 
the contrast through the newspaper file for 
a month, or tlirough the advertising pages of 
two or three numbers of Bradshaw's Puiil- 
way Guide, we might probably fill the present 
number of this publication with similar ex- 
amples, many of them including a decent 
education into the bargain. 

This Model Prison had cost at the close 
of 1847, under the heads of ' building ' 
and ' repairs ' alone, the insignificant sum 
of ninety-three thousand pounds within 
seven thousand pounds of the amount of the 
last Government grant for the Education of 
the whole people, and enough to pay for the 
emigration to Australia of four thousand, six 
hundred and fifty poor persons at twenty 
pounds per head. Upon the work done by five 
hundred prisoners in the Model Prison, in the 
year 1848, (we collate these figures from the 
KV ports, and from Mr. Hepworth Dixou's 
useful work on the London Prisons,) there 
was no profit, but an actual h^ .irds 

of eight hundred pounds. The cost of in- 
struction, and the time occupied in instruction, 
when the labour is necessarily unskilled and 
unproductive, may be pleaded in explaua- 



Charles Dickens.] 



PET PRISONERS. 



99 



tion of this astonishing fact. We are ready 
to allow all due weight to such considerations, 
but we put it to our readers whether the 
whole system is right or wrong ; whether 
the money ought or ought not rather to be 
spent in instructing the unskilled and ne- 
glected outside the prison walls. It will be 
urged that it is expended in preparing the 
convict for the exile to which he is doomed. 
We submit to our readers, who are the jury 
in this case, that all this should be done out- 
side the prison, first ; that the first persons to 
be prepared for emigration are the miserable 
children who are consigned to the tender 
mercies of a DROTJET, or who disgrace our 
streets ; and that in this beginning at the 
wrong end, a spectacle of monstrous incon- 
sistency is presented, shocking to the mind. 
Where is our Model House of Youthful 
Industry, where is oxir Model Bagged School, 
costing for building and repairs, from ninety 
to a hundred thousand pounds, and for its 
annual maintenance upwards of twenty thou- 
sand pounds a year ? Would it be a Christian 
act to build that, first ? To breed our skilful 
labour there 1 To take the hewers of wood 
and drawers of water in a strange country 
from the convict ranks, until those men by 
earnest working, zeal, and perseverance, 
proved themselves, and raised themselves ? 
Here are two sets of people in a densely 
populated land, always in the balance before 
the general eye. Is Crime for ever to carry 
it against Poverty, and to have a manifest 
advantage 1 There are the scales before all 
men. Whirlwinds of dust scattered in mens' 
eyes and there is plenty flying abo\it cannot 
blind them to the real state of the balance. 

We now come to enquire into the condition 
of mind produced by the seclusion (limited in 
duration as Lord Grey limits it) which is pur- 
chased at this great cost in money, and this 
greater cost in stupendous injustice. That 
it is a consummation much to be desired, that 
a respectable man, lapsing into crime, should 
expiate his offence without incurring the 
liability of being afterwards recognised by 
hardened offenders who were his fellow-pri- 
soners, we most readily admit. But, that this 
object, howsoever desirable and benevolent, is 
in itself sufficient to outweigh such objections 
as we have set forth, we cannot for a moment 
concede. Nor have we any sufficient gua- 
rantee that even this solitary point is gained. 
Under how many apparently inseparable 
difficulties, men immured in solitary celk, 
will by some means obtain a knowledge of 
other men immured in other solitary cells, 
most of us know from all the accounts and 
anecdotes AVC have read of secret prisons and 
secret prisoners from our school-time up- 
wards. That there is a fascination in the 
desire to know something of the hidden 
presence beyond the blank wall of the cell ; 
that the listening ear is often laid against 
that wall ; that there is an overpowering 
temptation to respond to the muffled knock, 



or any other signal which sharpened ingenuity 
pondering day after day on one idea can 
devise : is in that constitution of human 
nature which impels mankind to communi- 
cation with one another, and makes solitude 
a false condition against which nature strives. 
That such communication within the Model 
Prison, is not only probable, but indisputably 
proved to be possible by its actual discovery, 
we have no hesitation in stating as a fact. 
Some pains have been taken to hush the mat- 
ter, but the truth is, that when the Prisoners 
at Pentonville ceased to be selected Prisoners, 
especially picked out and chosen for the 
purposes of that experiment, an extensive 
conspiracy was found out among them, in- 
volving, it is needless to say, extensive com- 
munication. Small pieces of paper with 
writing upon them, had been crushed into 
balls, and shot into the apertures of cell 
doors, by prisoners passing along the pas- 
sages ; false responses had been made during 
Divine Service in the chapel, in which res- 
ponses they addressed one another ; and 
armed men were secretly dispersed by the 
Governor in various parts of the building, to 
prevent the general rising, which was an- 
ticipated as the consequence of this plot. 
Undiscovered communication, under this sys- 
tem, we assume to be frequent. 

The state of mind into which a man is 
brought who is the lonely inhabitant of his 
own small world, and who is only visited by 
certain regular visitors, all addressing them- 
selves to him individxially and personally, as 
the object of .their particular solicitude we 
believe in most cases to have very little 
promise in it, and very little of solid founda- 
tion. 'A strange absorbing selfishness a 
spiritual egotism and vanity, real or assumed 
is the first result. It is most remarkable 
to observe, in the cases of murderers who 
become this kind of object of interest, when 
they are at last consigned to the condemned 
cell, how the rule is (of course there are 
exceptions,) that the murdered person dis- 
appears from the stage of their thoughts, 
except as a part of their own important 
story ; and how they occupy the whole scene. 
/ did this, / feel that, / confide in the mercy 
of Heaven being extended to me ; this is the 
autograph of me, the unfortunate and un- 
happy ; in my childhood I was so and so ; 
in my youth I did such a thing, to which I 
attribute my downfall not this thing of 
basely and barbarously defacing the image of 
my Creator, and sending an immortal soul into 
eternity without a moment's warning, but 
something else of a venial kind that many 
unpunished people do. I don't want the for- 
giveness of this foully murdered person's 
bereaved wife, husband, brother, sister, child, 
friend ; I don't ask for it, I don't care for it. 
I make no enquiry of the clergyman concern- 
ing the salvation of that nmrdered person's 
soul ; mine is the matter ; and I am almost 
happy that I came here, as to the gate of 



100 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



Paradise. ' I never liked him,' said the 
repentant Mr. Manning, false of heart to the 
last, calling a crowbar by a milder name, to 
lessen the cowardly horror of it, ' and I beat in 
his skull with the ripping chisel.' I am going 
to bliss, exclaims the same authority, in effect. 
Where my victim went to, is not my busi- 
ness at all. Now, GOD forbid that we, un- 
worthily believing in the Redeemer, should 
shut out hope, or even humble trustfulness, 
from any criminal at that dread pass ; but, 
it is not in us to call this state of mind 
repentance. 

The present question is with a state of mind 
analogous to this (as we conceive) but with a 
far stronger tendency to hypocrisy ; the dread 
of death not being present, and there being 
every possible inducement, either to feign 
contrition, or to set up an unreliable sem- 
blance of it. If I, John. Styles, the prisoner, 
don't do my work, and outwardly conform to 
the rules of the prison, I am a mere fool. 
There is nothing here to tempt me to do 
anything else, and everything to tempt me to 
do that. The capital dietary (and every meal 
is a great event in this lonely life) depends 
upon it ; the alternative is a pound of bread 
a day. I should be weary of myself without 
occupation. I should be much more dull if I 
didn't hold these dialogues with the gentlemen 
who are so anxious about me. I shouldn't be 
half the object of interest I am, if I didn't 
make the professions I do. Therefore, I John 
Styles go in for what is popidar here, and I 
may mean it, or I may not. 

There will always, under any decent system, 
be certain prisoners, betrayed into crime by 
a variety of circumstances, who will do well 
in exile, and offend against the laws no more. 
Upon this class, we think the Associated 
Silent System would have quite as good an 
influence as this expensive and anomalous 
one ; and we cannot accept them as evidence 
of the efficiency of separate confinement. 
Assuming John Styles to mean what he pro- 
fesses, for the time being, we desire to track 
the workings of his mind, and to try to test 
the value of his professions. Where shall we 
find an account of John Styles, proceeding 
from no objector to this system, but from a 
staunch supporter of it ? We will take it 
from a work called 'Prison Discipline, and 
the advantages of the separate system of 
imprisonment,' written by the Reverend Mr. 
Field, chaplain of the new County Gaol at 
Reading ; pointing out to Mr. Field, in 
passing, that the question is not justly, as he 
would sometimes make it, a question between 
this system and the profligate abuses and 
customs of the old unreformed gaols, but 
between it and the improved gaols of this 
time, which are not constructed on his 
favourite principles.* 

* As Mr. Field condescends to quote some vapouring 
about the account given by Mr. Charles Dickens in his 
' American Notes,' of the Solitary Prison at Philadelphia, 
he may perhaps really wish for some few words of informa- 
tion on the subject. For this purpose. Mr. Charles Dickens 



Now, here is John Styles, twenty years of 
age, in prison for a felony. He has been there 
five months, and he writes to his sister, ' Don't 
fret my dear sister, about my being here. I 
cannot help fretting when I think about my 
usage to my father and mother : when I think 
about it, it makes me quite ill. I hope God 
will forgive me ; I pray for it night and day 
from my heart. Instead of fretting about im- 
prisonment, I ought to thank God for it, for 
before I came here, I was living quite a care- 
less life ; neither was God in all my thoughts; 
all I thought about was ways that led me 
towards destruction. Give my respects to my 
wretched companions, and I hope they will 
alter their wicked course, for they don't 
know for a day nor an hour but what they 
may be cut off. I have seen my folly, and I 
hope they may see their folly ; but I shouldn't 
if I had not been in trouble. It is good for 
me that I have been in trouble. Go to church, 
my sister, eveiy Sunday, and don't give your 
mind to going to playhouses and theatres, for 
that is no good to you. There are a great 
many temptations.' 

has referred to the entry in his Diary, made at the close of 
that day. 

He left his hotel for the Prison at twelve o'clock, being 
waited on, by appointment, by the gentlemen who showed 
it to him ; and he returned between seven and eight at 
night; dining in the prison in the course of that time; 
which, according to his calculation, in despite of the Phila- 
delphia Newspaper, rather exceeds two hours. He found 
the Prison admirably conducted, extremely clean, and the 
system administered in a most intelligent, kind, orderly, 
tender, and careful manner. He did not consider (nor 
should he, if he were to visit Pentonville to-morrow) that 
the book in which visitors were expected to record their 
observation of the place, was intended for the insertion of 
criticisms on the system, but for honest testimony to the 
manner of its administration ; and to that, he bore, as an 
impartial visitor, the highest testimony in his power. 
In returning thanks for his health being drunk, at the 
dinner within the walls, he said that what he had seen that 
day was running in his mind ; that he could not help re- 
flecting on it; and that it was an awful punishment. If the 
American officer who rode back with him afterwards should 
ever see these words, he will perhaps recall his conversation 
with Mr. Dickens on the road, as to Mr. Dickens having 
said so, very plainly and strongly. In reference to 
the ridiculous assertion that Mr. Dickens in his book 
termed a woman ' quite beautiful ' who was a Negress, he 
positively believes that he was shown no Negress in the 
Prison, but one who was nursing a woman much diseased, 
and to whom no reference whatever is made in his published 
account. In describing three young women, ' all convicted 
at the same time of a conspiracy,' he may, possibly, among 
many cases, have substituted in his memory for one of them 
whom he did not see, some other prisoner, confined for some 
other crime, whom he did see ; but he has not the least doubt 
of having been guilty of the (American) enormity of detecting 
beauty in a pensive quadroon or mulatto girl, or of having 
seen exactly what he describes; and he remembers the 
girl more particularly described in this connexion, perfectly. 
Can Mr. Field really suppose that Mr. Dickens had any 
interest or purpose in misrepresenting the system, or that 
if he could be guilty of such unworthy conduct, or desire to do 
it anything but justice, he would have volunteered the 
narrative of a man's having, of his own choice, undergone 
it for two years ? 

We will not notice the objection of Mr. Field (who 
strengthens the truth of Burns to nature, by the testimony 
of Mr. Pitt !) to the discussion of such a topic as the present 
in a work or ' mere amusement ; ' though, we had thought 
wo remembered in that book a word or two about slavery, 
which, although a very amusing, can scarcely be considered 
an unmitigatedly comic theme. We are quite content to 
believe, without seeking to make a convert ol the Reverend 
Mr. Field, that no work need be one of 'mere amusement; ' 
and that some works to which he would apply that desig- 
nation have done a little good in advancing principles to 
which, we hope, and will believe, for the credit of his 
Christian office, he is not indifferent. 



Chrarlta Dickeni. | 



PET PRISONERS. 



101 



Observe ! John Styles, who has committed 
the felony has been 'living quite a careless 
life.' That is his worst opinion of it, 
whereas his companions who did not commit 
the felony are ' wretched companions.' John 
saw his ' folly,' and sees their ' wicked course.' 
It is playhouses and theatres which many un- 
felonious people go to, that prey upon John's 
mind not felony. John is shut up in that 
pulpit to lecture his companions and his 
sister, about the wickedness of the unfelonious 
world. Always supposing him to be sincere, 
is there no exaggeration of himself in this ? 
Go to church where I can go, and don't go to 
theatres where I can't ! Is there any tinge of 
the fox and the grapes in it ? Is this the kind 
of penitence that will wear outside ! Put the 
case that he had written, of his own mind, 
' My dear sister, I feel that I have disgraced 
you and all who should be dear to me, and if 
it please God that I live to be free, I will try 
hard to repair that, and to be a credit to you. 
My dear sister, when I committed this felony, 
I stole something and these pining five 
months have not put it back and I will 
work my fingers to the bone to make restitu- 
tion, and oh ! my dear sister, seek out my late 
companions, and tell Tom Jones, that poor 
boy, who was younger and littler than me, 
that I am grieved I ever led him so wrong, 
and I am suffering for it now ! ' Would 
that be better ? Would it be more like solid 
truth ? 

But no. This is not the pattern penitence. 
There would seem to be a pattern penitence, 
of a particular form, shape, limits, and dimen- 
sions, like the cells. While Mr. Field is cor- 
recting his proof-sheets for the press, another 
letter is brought to him, and in that letter too, 
that man, also a felon , speaks of his ' past 
folly,' and lectures his mother about labouring 
under 'strong delusions of the devil.' Does 
this overweening readiness to lecture other 
people, suggest the suspicion of any parrot- 
like imitation of Mr. Field, who lectures him, 
and any presumptuous confounding of their 
relative positions ? 

We venture altogether to protest against 
the citation, in support of this system, of 
assumed repentance which has stood no test 
or trial in the working world. We consider 
that it proves nothing, and is worth nothing, 
except as a discouraging sign of that spiritual 
egotism and presumption of which we have 
already spoken. It is not peculiar to the 
separate system at Reading ; Miss Martineau, 
who was on the whole decidedly favourable to 
the separate prison at Philadelphia, observed 
it there. 'The cases I became acquainted 
with,' says she, ' were not all hopeful. Some 
of the convicts were so stupid as not to be 
relied upon, more or less. Others canted so 
detestably, and were (always in connexion 
with their cant) so certain that they should 
never sin more, that I have every expectation 
that they will find themselves in prison again 
some day. One fellow, a sailor, notorious for 



having taken more lives than probably any 
man in the United States, was quite confident 
that he should be perfectly virtuous hence- 
forth. He should never touch anything 
stronger than tea, or lift his hand against 
money or life. I told him I thought he could 
not be sure of all this till he was within sight 
of money and the smell of strong liquors ; 
and that he was more confident than I should 
like to be. He shook his shock of red hair at 
me, and glared with his one ferocious eye, 
as he said he knew all about it. He had been 
the worst of men, and Christ had had mercy 
on his poor soul.' (Observe again, as in the 
general case we have put, that he is not at all 
troubled about the souls of the people whom 
he had killed.) 

Let us submit to our readers another in- 
stance from Mr. Field, of the wholesome 
state of mind produced by the separate system. 
'The 25th of March, in the last year, was 
the day appointed for a general fast, on ac- 
count of the threatened famine. The follow- 
ing note is in my journal of that day. "During 
the evening I visited many prisoners, and 
found with much satisfaction that a large 
proportion of them had observed the day in 
a manner becoming their own situation, and 
the purpose for which it had been set apart. 
I think it right to record the following re- 
markable proof of the effect of discipline. 
***** They were all supplied with 
their usual rations. I went first this evening 
to the cells of the prisoners recently com- 
mitted for trial (Ward A. 1.), and amongst 
these (upwards of twenty) I found that but 
three had abstained from any portion of their 
food. I then visited twenty-one convicted 
prisoners who had spent some considerable 
time in the gaol (Ward C. 1.), and amongst 
them I found that some had altogether 
abstained from food, and of the whole number 
two-thirds had partially abstained." ' We will 
take it for granted that this was not because 
they had more than they could eat, though 
we know that with such a dietary even that 
sometimes happens, especially in the case of 
persons long confined. 'The remark of one 
prisoner whom I questioned concerning his 
abstinence was, I believe, sincere, and was 
very pleasing. " Sir, I have not felt able to eat 
to-day, whilst I have thought of those poor 
starving people ; but I hope that I have 
prayed a good deal that God will give them 
something to eat." ' 

If this were not pattern penitence, and the 
thought of those poor starving people had 
honestly originated with that man, and were 
really on his mind, we want to know why he 
was not uneasy, every day, in the contempla- 
tion of his soup, meat, bread, potatoes, cocoa- 
nibs, milk, molasses, and gruel, and its con- 
trast to the fare of ' those poor starving peo- 
ple ' who, in some form or other, were taxed 
to pay for it ? 

We do not deem it necessary to comment 
on the authorities quoted by Mr. Field to 



102 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



show what a fine thing the separate system 
is, for the health of the body ; how it never 
affects the mind except for good ; how it is the 
true preventive of pulmonary disease ; and so 
on. The deduction we must draw from such 
things is, that Providence was quite mistaken 
in making us gregarious, and that we had 
better all shut ourselves up directly. Neither 
will we refer to that ' talented criminal,' Dr. 
Dodd, whose exceedingly indifferent verses ap- 
plied to a system now extinct, in reference 
to our penitentiaries for convicted prisoners. 
Neither, after what we have quoted from 
Lord Grey, need we refer to the likewise 
quoted report of the American authorities, 
who are perfectly sure that no extent of con- 
finement iu. the Philadelphia prison has ever 
affected the intellectual powers of any pri- 
soner. Mr. Croker cogently observes, in the 
Good-Natured Man, that either his hat must 
be on his head, or it must be off. By a parity 
of reasoning, we conclude that both Lord Grey 
and the American authorities cannot possibly 
be right unless indeed the notoriously set- 
tled habits of the American people, and the 
absence of any approach to restlessness in the 
national character, render them unusually 
good subjects for protracted seclusion, and an 
exception from the rest of mankind. 

In using the term ' pattern penitence ' we 
beg it to be understood that we do not apply 
it to Mr. Field, or to any other chaplain, but 
to the system ; which appears to us to make 
these doubtful converts all alike. Although 
Mr. Field has not shown any remarkable 
courtesy in the instance we have set forth in 
a note, it is our wish to show all courtesy to 
him, and to his office, and to his sincerity in 
the discharge of its duties. In our desire to 
represent him with fairness and impartiality, 
we will not take leave of him without the 
following quotation from his book : 

' Scarcely sufficient time has yet expired 
since the present system was introduced, for 
me to report much concerning discharged 
criminals. Out of a class so degraded the 
very dregs of the community it can be no 
wonder that some, of whose improvement I 
cherished the hope, should have relapsed. 
Disappointed in a few cases I have been, yet 
by no means discouraged, since I can with 
pleasure refer to many whose conduct is 
affording proof of reformation. Gratifying 
indeed have been some accounts received 
from liberated offenders themselves, as well 
as from clergymen of parishes to which they 
have returned. I have also myself visited the 
homes of some of our former prisoners, and 
have been cheered by the testimony given, 
and the evident signs of improved character 
which I have there observed. Although I do 
not venture at present to describe the parti- 
cular cases of prisoners, concerning whose re- 
formation I feel much confidence, because, as 
I have stated, the time of trial has hitherto 
been short ; yet I can with pleasure refer to 
some public documents which prove the 



li:mpy effects of similar discipline in other 
establishine] 

It should also be stated that the Reverend 
Mr. Kingsmill, the chaplain of the Model 
Prison at Pentonville, in his calm and in- 
telligent report made to the Commissioners 
on the first of February, 1849, expresses his 
belief ' that the effects produced here upon 
the character of prisoners, have been en- 
couraging in a high degree.' 

But, we entreat our readers once again 
to look at that Model Prison dietary (which 
is essential to the system, though the 
system is so very healthy of itself) ; to re- 
member the other enormous expenses of the 
establishment ; to consider the circumstances 
of this old country, with the inevitable ano- 
malies and contrasts it must present ; and to 
decide, on temperate reflection, whether there 
are any sufficient reasons for adding this mon- 
strous contrast to the rest. Let us impress 
upon our readers that the existing question 
is, not between this system and the old abuses 
of the old profligate Gaols (with which, thank 
Heaven, we have nothing to do), but between 
this system and the associated silent system, 
where the dietary is much lower, where the 
annual cost of provision, management, repairs, 
clothing, &c., does not exceed, on a liberal 
average, 25 for each prisoner; where many 
prisoners are, and every prisoner would be 
(if due accommodation were provided in 
some over-crowded prisons), locked up alone, 
for twelve hours out of every twenty-four, 
and where, while preserved from contami- 
nation, he is still one of a society of men, and 
not an isolated being, filling his whole sphere 
of view with a diseased dilation of himself. We 
hear that the associated silent system is ob- 
jectionable, because of the number of punish- 
ments it involves for breaches of the prison dis- 
cipline ; but how can we, in the same breath, 
be told that the resolutions of prisoners for 
the misty future are to be trusted, and that, 
on the least temptation, they are so little to 
be relied on, as to the solid present 1 How 
can I set the pattern penitence against the 
career that preceded it, when I am told that 
if I put that man with other men, and lay a 
solemn charge upon him not to address them 
by word or sign, there are such and such great 
chances that he will want the resolution to 
obey ? 

Remember that this separate system, though 
commended in the English Parliament and 
spreading in England, has not spread in Ame- 
rica, despite of all the steeple-chase riders in the 
United States. Remember that it has never 
reached the State most distinguished for its 
learning, for its moderation, for its remark- 
able men of European reputation, for the ex- 
cellence of its public Institutions. Let it 
be tried here, on a limited scale, if you will, 
with fair representatives of all classes ot 
prisoners : let Captain Macconnochie's system 
he tried : let anything with a ray of hope in 
it be tried : but, only as a part of some general 



Charles Dickeuj.J 



A TALE OF THE GOOD OLD TIMES. 



103 



system for raising up the prostrate portion of 
the people of this country, and not as an ex- 
hibition of such astonishing consideration for 
crime, in comparison with want and work. 
Any prison built, at a great expenditure, for 
this system, is comparatively useless for any 
other ; and the ratepayers will do well to 
think of this, before they take it for granted 
that it is a proved boon to the country which 
will be enduring. 

Under the separate system, the prisoners 
work at trades. Under the associated silent 
system, the Magistrates of Middlesex have al- 
most abolished the treadmill. Is it no part of 
the legitimate consideration of this important 
point of work, to discover what kind of work 
the people always filtering through the gaols 
of large towns the pickpocket, the sturdy 
vagrant, the habitual drunkard, raid the 
begging-letter impostor like least, and to 
give them that work to do in preference to 
any other 1 It is out of fashion with the 
steeple-chase riders we know ; but we would 
have, for all such characters, a kind of work 
in gaols, badged and degraded as belonging 
to gaols only, and never done elsewhere. 
And we must avow that, in a country cir- 
cumstanced as England is, with respect to 
labour and labourers, we have strong doubts 
of the propriety of bringing the results of 
prison labour into the over-stocked market. 
On this subject some public remonstrances 
have recently been made by tradesmen ; and 
we cannot shut our eyes to the fact that they 
are well-founded. 



A TALE OF THE GOOD OLD TIMES. 



AN alderman of the ancient borough of 
Beetlebury, and churchwarden of the parish 
of St. Wulfstan's in the said borough, Mr. 
Blenkinsop might have been called, in the 
language of the sixteenth century, a man of 
worship. This title would probably have 
pleased him very much, it being an obsolete 
one, and he entertaining an extraordinary 
regard for all things obsolete, or thoroughly 
deserving to be so. He looked up with pro- 
found veneration to the griffins which formed 
the water-spouts of St. Wulfstan's Church, 
and he almost worshipped an old boot under 
the name of a black jack, which on the affi- 
davit of a forsworn broker, he had bought 
for a drinking vessel of the sixteenth century. 
Mr. Blenkinsop even more admired the wis- 
dom of our ancestors than lie did their furni- 
ture and fashions. He believed that none of 
their statutes and ordinances could possibly 
be improved on, and in this persuasion had 
petitioned Parliament against every just or 
merciful change, which, since he had arrived 
at man's estate, had been made in the laws. 
He had successively opposed all the Beetlebury 
improvements, gas, waterworks, infant schools, 
mechanics' institute, and library. He had 
been active in an agitation against any mea- 
sure for the improvement of the public health. 



and, being a strong advocate of intramural 
interment, was instrumental in defeating an 
attempt to establish a pretty cemetery outside 
Beetlebury. He had successfully resisted a 
project for removing the pig-market from the 
middle of the High Street. Through his in- 
fluence the shambles, which were corporation 
property, had been allowed to remain where 
they were ; namely, close to the Town-Hall, 
and immediately under his own and his 
brethren's noses. In short, he had regularly, 
consistently, and nobly done his best to frus- 
trate every scheme that was proposed for the 
comfort and advantage of his fellow creatures. 
For this conduct, he was highly esteemed 
and respected, and, indeed, his hostility to any 
interference with disease, had procured him the 
honour of a public testimonial ; shortly after 
the presentation of which, with several neat 
speeches, the cholera broke out in Beetlebury. 

The truth is, that Mr. Blenkinsop's views 
on the subject of public health and popular 
institutions were supposed to be economical 
(though they were, in truth, desperately 
costly), and so pleased some of the rate- 
payers. Besides, he withstood ameliorations, 
and defended nuisances and abuses with all 
the heartiness of an actual philanthropist. 
Moreover, he was a jovial fellow, a boon 
companion ; and his love of antiquity leant 
particularly towards old ale and old port 
wine. Of both of these beverages he had 
been partaking rather largely at a visitation- 
dinner, where, after the retirement of the 
bishop and his clergy, festivities were kept up 
till late, under the presidency of the deputy- 
registrar. One of the last to quit the Crown 
and Mitre was Mr. Blenkinsop. 

He lived in a 1'emote part of the town, 
whither, as he did not walk exactly in a right 
line, it may be allowable, perhaps, to say that 
he bent his course. Many of the dwellers in 
Beetlebury High-street, awakened at half-past 
twelve on that night, by somebody passing 
below, singing, not very distinctly, 

' "With a jolly full bottle let each man be armed,' 

were indebted, little as they may have sus- 
pected it. to Alderman Blenkinsop, for their 
serenade. 

In his homeward way stood the Market 
Cross ; a fine medieval structure, supported 
on a series of circular steps by a groined arch, 
which served as a canopy to the stone figure of 
an ancient burgess. This was the effigies of 
Wynkyn de Yokes, once Mayor of Beetlebury, 
and a great benefactor to the town ; in which 
he had founded almshouses and a grammar 
school, A.D. 1440. The post was formerly 
occupied by St. Wulfstaii ; but De Yokes had 
been removed from the Town Hall in Crom- 
well's time, and promoted to the vacant 
pedestal, vice Wulfstan, demolished. Mr. 
Blenkinsop highly revered this work of art, 
and he now stopped to take a view of it by 
moonlight. In that doubtful glimmer, it 
seemed almost life-like. Mr. Blenkinsop had 



104 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



{.Conducted by 



not much imagination, yet he could well nigh 
fancy he was looking upon the veritable 
Wynkyn, with his bonnet, beard, furred gown, 
and staff, and his great book under his arm. 
So vivid was this impression, that it impelled 
him to apostrophise the statue. 

' Fine old fellow ! ' said Mr. Blenkinsop. 
' Rare old buck ! We shall never look upon 
your like, again. Ah ! the good old times 
the jolly good old tunes ! No times like the 
good old times my ancient worthy. No such 
times as the good old times ! ' 

' And pray, Sir, what times do you call the 
good old times 1 ' in distinct and deliberate 
accents, answered according to the positive 
affirmation of Mr. Blenkinsop, subsequently 
made before divers witnesses the Statue. 

Mr. Blenkinsop is sure that he was in the 
perfect possession of his senses. He is certain 
that he was not the dupe of ventriloquism, or 
any other illusion. The value of these con- 
victions must be a question between him and 
the world, to whose perusal the facts of his 
tale, simply as stated by himself, are here 
submitted. 

When first he heard the Statue speak, Mr. 
Blenkinsop says, he certainly experienced a 
kind of sudden shock, a momentary feeling 
of consternation. But this soon abated in a 
wonderful manner. The Statue's voice was 
quite mild and gentle not in the least grim 
had no funereal twang in it, and was quite 
different from the tone a statue might be 
expected to take by anybody who had derived 
his notions on that subject from having 
heard the representative of the class in ' Don 
Giovanni.' 

' Well ; what times do you mean by the 
good old times '? ' repeated the Statue, quite 
familiarly. The churchwarden was able to 
reply with some composure, that such a ques- 
tion coming from such a quarter had taken 
him a little by surprise. 

'Come, come, Mr. Blenkinsop,' said the 
Statue, 'don't be astonished. Tis half-past 
twelve, and a moonlight night, as your 
favourite police, the sleepy and infirm old 
watchman, says. Don't you know that we 
statues are apt to speak when spoken to, at 
these hours 1 Collect yourself. I will help 
you to answer my own question. Let us go 
back step by step ; and allow me to lead you. 
To begin. By the good old times, do you 
mean the reign of George the Third 1 ' 

' The last of them, Sir ' replied Mr. Blen- 
kinsop, very respectfully, ' I am inclined to 
think, were seen by the people who lived in 
those days.' \ 

' I should hope so,' the Statue replied. 
' Those the good old times 1 What ! Mr. 
Blenkinsop, when men were hanged by dozens, 
almost weekly, for paltry thefts. When a 
nursing woman was dragged to the gallows 
with her child at her breast, for shop-lifting, 
to the value of a shilling. When you lost 
your American colonies, and plunged into 
war with France, which, to say nothing of 



the useless bloodshed it cost, has left you 
saddled with the national debt. Surely you 
will not call these the good old times, will you, 
Mr. Blenkinsop ?' 

' Not exactly, Sir ; no : on reflection I don't 
know that I can,' answered Mr. Blenkinsop. 
He had now it was such a civil, well-spoken 
statue lost all sense of the preternatural 
horror of his situation, and scratched his head 
just as if he had been posed in argument by 
an ordinary mortal. 

' Well then,' resumed the Statue, ' my dear 
Sir, shall we take the two or three reigns pre- 
ceding. What think you of the then existing 
state of prisons and prison discipline ? Un- 
fortunate debtors confined indiscriminately 
with felons, in the midst of filth, vice, and 
misery unspeakable. Criminals under sen- 
tence of death tippling in the condemned cell 
with the Ordinary for their pot companion. 
Flogging, a common punishment of women 
convicted of larceny. What say you of the 
times when London streets were absolutely 
dangerous, and the passenger ran the risk of 
being hustled and robbed even in the day-time ? 
When not only Hounslow and Bagshot Heath, 
but the public roads swarmed with robbers, 
and a stage-coach was as frequently plundered 
as a hen-roost. When, indeed, " the road " was 
esteemed the legitimate resource of a gentle- 
man in difficulties, and a highwayman was 
commonly called " Captain " if not respected 
accordingly. When cock-fighting, bear-bait- 
ing, and bull-baiting were popular, nay, 
fashionable amusements. When the bulk of 
the landed gentry could barely read and write, 
and divided their time between fox-hunting 
and guzzling. When a duellist was a hero, 
and it was an honour to have " killed your 
man." When a gentleman could hardly open 
his mouth without uttering a profane or 
filthy oath. When the country was continu- 
ally in peril of civil war through a disputed 
succession ; and two murderous insurrections, 
followed by more murderous executions, actu- 
ally took place. This era of inhumanity, 
shamelessness, brigandage, brutality, and per- 
sonal and political insecurity, what say you of 
it, Mr. Blenkinsop 1 Do you regard this wig 
and pigtail period as constituting the good 
old times, respected friend 1 ' 

'There was Queen Anne's golden reign, Sir,' 
deferentially suggested Mr. Blenkinsop. 

' A golden reign ! ' exclaimed the Statue. 
' A reign of favouritism and court trickery at 
home, and profitless war abroad. The time 
of Bolingbroke's, and Harley's, and Churchill's 
intrigues. The reign of Sarah, Duchess of 
Marlborough and of Mrs. Masham. A golden 
fiddlestick ! I imagine you must go farther back 
yet for your good old times, Mr. Blenkinsop.' 

' Well,' answered the churchwarden, ' I sup- 
pose I must, Sir, after what you say.' 

'Take William the Third's rule,' pursued 
the Statue. 'War, war again; nothing but 
war. I don't think you'll particularly call 
these the good old times. Then what will 



Charlce Dickens.] 



A TALE OF THE GOOD OLD TIMES. 



105 



you say to those of James the Second 1 Were 
they the good old times when Judge Jefferies 
sat on the bench ? When Monmouth's re- 
bellion was followed by the Bloody Assize 
When the King tried to set himself above 
the law, and lost his crown in consequence 
Does your worship fancy that these were the 
good old times ? ' 

Mr. Blenkinsop admitted that he could not 
very well imagine that they were. 

' Were Charles the Second's the good old 
times ? ' demanded the Statue. ' With a court 
full of riot and debauchery a palace much 
less decent than any modern casino whilst 
Scotch Covenanters were having their legs 
crashed in the " Boots," under the auspices and 
personal superintendence of His Royal High- 
ness the Duke of York. The time of Titus 
Oates, Bedloe, and Dangerfield, and their 
sham-plots, with the hangings, drawings, and 
quarterings, on perjured evidence, that fol- 
lowed them. When Russell and Sidney were 
judicially murdered. The time of the Great 
Plague and Fire of London. The public 
money wasted by roguery and embezzlement, 
while sailors lay starving in the streets for 
want of their just pay ; the Dutch about the 
same time burning our ships in the Medway. 
My friend, I think you will hardly call the 
scandalous monarchy of the "Merry Monarch " 
the good old times.' 

' I feel the difficulty which you suggest, Sir, 
owned Mr. Blenkinsop. 

' Now, that a man of your loyalty,' pursued 
the Statue, ' should identify the good old times 
with Cromwell's Protectorate, is of course out 
of the question.' 

' Decidedly, Sir ! ' exclaimed Mr. Blenkinsop. 
' He shall not have a statue, though you enjoy 
that honour,' bo whig. 

' And yet,' said the Statue, ' with all its 
faults, this era was perhaps no worse than any 
we have discussed yet. Never mind ! It was 
a dreary, cant-ridden one, and if you don't 
think those England's palmy days, neither do 
I. There 's the previous reign then. During 
the first part of it, there was the king endea- 
vouring to assert arbitrary power. During 
the latter, the Parliament were fighting 
against him in the open field. What ulti- 
mately became of him I need not say. At 
what stage of King Charles the First's career 
did the good old times exist, Mr. Alderman ? 
I need barely mention the Star Chamber and 
poor Prynne ; and I merely allude to the fate 
of Strafford and of Laud. On consideration, 
should you fix the good old times anywhere 
thereabouts ] ' 

' I am afraid not, indeed, Sir,' Mr. Blen- 
kinsop responded, tapping his forehead. 

' What is your opinion of James the First's 
reign 1 Are you enamoured of the good old 
times of the Gunpowder Plot ? or when Sir 
Walter Raleigh was beheaded 1 or when hun- 
dreds of poor miserable old women were burnt 
alive for witchcraft, and the royal wiseacre on 
the throne wrote as wise a book, in defence of 



the execrable superstition through which they 
suffered ? ' 

Mr. Blenkinsop confessed himself obliged 
to give up the times of James the First. 

' Now, then,' continued the Statue, 'we 
come to Elizabeth.' 

' There I Ve got you ! ' interrupted Mr. 
Blenkinsop, exultingly. ' I beg your pardon, 
Sir,' he added, with a sense of the freedom he 
had taken ; 'but everybody talks of the times 
of Good Queen Bess, you know ! ' 

' Ha, ha ! ' laughed the Statue, not at all 
like Zamiel, or Don Guzman, or a paviour's 
rammer, but really with unaffected gaiety. 
' Everybody sometimes says very foolish 
things. Suppose Everybody's lot had been 
cast under Elizabeth ! How would Every- 
body have relished being subject to the 
jurisdiction of the Ecclesiastical Commis- 
sion, with its power of imprisonment, 
rack, and torture 1 How would Everybody 
have liked to see his Roman Catholic and 
Dissenting fellow-subjects, butchered, fined, 
and imprisoned for their opinions ; and cha- 
ritable ladies butchered, too, for giving them 
shelter in the sweet compassion of their hearts 1 
What would Everybody have thought of the 
murder of Mary Queen of Scots ? Would 
Everybody, would Anybody, would you, 
wish to have lived in these days, whose 
emblems are cropped ears, pillory, stocks, 
thumb-screws, gibbet, axe, chopping-block, 
and Scavenger's daughter 1 Will you take 
your stand upon this stage of History for 
the good old times, Mr. Blenkinsop 1 ' 

' I should rather prefer firmer and safer 
ground, to be sure, upon the whole,' answered 
the worshipper of antiquity, dubiously. 

' Well, now,' said the Statue, ' 'tis getting 
late, and, unaccustomed as I am to conversa- 
tional speaking, I must be brief. Were those 
the good old times when Sanguinary Mary 
roasted bishops, and lighted the fires of Smith- 
field ? When Henry the Eighth, the British 
Bluebeard, cut his wives' heads off, and 
burnt Catholic and Protestant at the same 
stake ? When Richard the Third smothered 
his nephews in the Tower 1 When the Wars 
of the Roses deluged the laud with blood? 
When Jack Cade marched upon London ? 
When we were disgracefully driven out of 
France under Henry the Sixth, or, as dis- 
gracefully, went marauding there, under 
Henry the Fifth 1 Were the good old times 
those of Northumberland's rebellion ? Of 
Richard the Second's assassination ? Of the 
battles, burnings, massacres, cruel torment- 
ing*; and atrocities, which form the sum of 
the Plantagenet reigns ? Of John's declaring 
himself the Pope's vassal, and performing 
dental operations on the Jews 1 Of the Forest 
Laws and Curfew under the Norman kings ? 
At what point of this series of bloody and 
cruel annals will you place the times which 
you praise ? Or do your good old times 
extend over all that period when somebody 
or other was constantly committing high 



106 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



treason, and there was a perpetual exhibition I preside over the sanitary affairs of Beetlebury. 



of heads on London Bridge and Temple Bar 1 ' 

It was allowed by Mr. Blenkinsop that 
either alternative presented considerable 
difficulty. 

' Was it in the good old times that Harold 
fell at Hastings, and William the Conqueror 
enslaved England ] Were those blissful years 
the ages of monkery ; of Odo and Dunstari, 
bearding monarchs and branding queens 1 Of 
Danish ravage and slaughter ? Or were they 
those of the Saxon Heptarchy, and the 
worship of Thor and Odin ? Of the advent 
of Hengist and Horsa 1 Of British subjuga- 
tion by the Romans I Or, lastly, must we go 
back to the Ancient Britons, Druidism, and 
human sacrifices ; and say that those were 
the real, unadulterated, genuine, good old 
times when the true-blue natives of this 
island went naked, painted with woad ? ' 

' Upon my word, Sir,' said Mr. Blenkinsop, 
' after the observations that I have heard from 
you this night, I acknowledge that I do feel 
myself rather at a loss to assign a precise 
period to the times in question.' 

' Shall I do it for you 1 ' asked the Statue. 

' If you please, Sir. I should be very much 
obliged if you would,' replied the bewildered 
Blenkinsop, greatly relieved. 

' The best times,' Mr. Blenkinsop,' said the 
Statue, ' are the oldest. They are the wisest ; 
for the older the world grows the more expe- 
rience it acquires. It is older now than ever 
it was. The oldest and best times the world 
has yet seen are the present. These, so far as 
we have yet gone, are the genuine good old 
times, Sir.' 

'Indeed, Sir?' ejaculated the astonished 
Alderman. 

' Yes, my good friend. These are the best 
times that we know of bad as the best may 
be. But in proportion to their defects, they 
afford room for amendment. Mind that, Sir, 
in the future exercise of your municipal and 
political wisdom. Don't continue to stand in 
the light which is gradually illuminating 
human darkness. The Future is the date of 
that happy period which your imagination 



has fixed in the Past. 
shall do what is right 



It will arrive when all 
hence none shall suffer 



UUCAJU. VAVy J-LCUU JO *IJK*BV ) OJtOJJ.^^ ll\Jll^ f^U-Olii OllllL L 

what is wrong. The true good old times are 
vet to come.' 

' Have you any idea when, Sir 1 ' Mr. Blen- 
kinsop inquired, modestly. 

' That is a little beyond me. the Statue 
answered. ' I cannot say how loru it will 
take to convert the Blenkinsops. I devoutly 
wish you may live 
with that, I wish you 
kinsop.' 



to see them. And 
food night, Mr. Blen- 



' Sir,' returned Mr. Blenkinsop with a pro- 



found bow, ' I 
the same.' 



have the honour to wish you 



Mr. Blenkinsop returned home an altered 
man. This was soon manifest. In a few days 
he astonished the Corporation by proposing 
the appointment of an Officer of Health to 



It had already transpired that he had con- 
sented to the introduction of lucifer-matches 
into his domestic establishment, in which, 
previously, he had insisted on sticking to the 
old tinder-box. Next, to the wonder of all 
Beetlebury, he was the first to propose a great 
new school, and to sign a requisition that a 
county penitentiary might be established for 
the reformation of juvenile offenders. The 
last account of him is that he has not only be- 
come a subscriber to the mechanics' institute, 
but that he actually presided thereat, lately, 
on the occasion of a lecture on Geology. 

The remarkable change which has occurred 
in Mr. Blenkinsop's views and principles, he 
himself refers to his conversation with the 
Statue, as above related. That narrative, 
however, his fellow townsmen receive with 
incredulous expressions, accompanied by ges- 
ture^and grimaces of like import. They hint, 
that Mr. Blenkinsop had been thinking for 
himself a little, and only wanted a plausible 
excuse for recanting his errors. Most of his 
fellow aldermen believe him mad ; not less on 
account of his new moral and political senti- 
ments, so very different from their own, than 
of his Statue story. When it has been sug- 
gested to them that he has only had his spec- 
tacles cleaned, and has been looking about him, 
they shake their heads, and say that he had 
better have left his spectacles alone, and that 
a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and 
a good deal of dirt quite the contrary. Their 
spectacles have never been cleaned, they say, 
and any one may see they don't want cleaning. 

The truth seems to be, that Mr. Blenkinsop 
has found an altogether new pair of spectacles, 
which enable him to see in the right direc- 
tion. Formerly, he could only look back- 
wards ; he now looks forwards to the grand 
object that all human eyes should have in 
view progressive improvement. 



BAPTISMAL RITUALS. 



THE subject of baptism having recently 
been pressed prominently upon public at- 
tention, it has been thought that a few curious 
particulars relating exclusively to the rite as 
anciently performed would be interesting. 

In the earliest days of the Christian Church 
those who were admitted into it by baptism 
were necessarily not infants but adolescent or 
adult converts. These previously underwent 
a course of religious instruction, generally for 
two years. They were called during their 
pupilage, 'catechumens,' * a name afterward.-; 
transferred to all infants before baptism. 
When such candidates were judged worthy 
to be received within the pale of the Church, 
their names were inscribed at the beginning 
of Lent, on a list of the competent or 
' illuminated.' On Easter or Pentecost eve they 
were baptised, by three solemn, immersions, 

From the participle of a Greek rcrb, expressing the act 
of receiving rudimentary instruction. 



Charles Dickens.] 



BAPTISMAL EITUALS. 



107 



the first of the right side, the second of the 
left, and the third of the face. They were 
confirmed at the same time, often, in addition, 
receiving the sacrament. Sprinkling was 
only resorted to in cases of the sick and bed- 
ridden, who were called clinics* because they 
received the rite in bed. Baptism was at that 
early period accompanied by certain symbolical 
ceremonies long since disused. For ex- 
ample, milk and honey were given to the 
new Christian to mark his entrance into 
the land of promise, and as a sign of his 
spiritual infancy in being ' born again ; ' for 
milk and honey were the food of children 
when weaned. The three immersions were 
made in honour of the three persons of the 
Trinity ; but the Arians having found in 
that ceremony an argument favouring the 
notion of distinction and plurality of natures 
in the Deity, Pope Gregory by a letter ad- 
dressed to St. Leander of Seville, ordained that 
in Spain, the then stronghold of Arianism, 
only one immersion should be practised. 
This prescription was preserved and applied 
to the Church xiniversal by the 6th canon of 
the Council of Toledo in 633. The triple 
immersion was, however, persisted in in Ire- 
land to the 12th century. Infants were 
thus baptised by their fathers, or indeed, by 
any other person at hand, either in water or 
in milk ; but the custom was abolished in 
1172 by the Council of Cashel. 

The African churches obliged those who 
were to be baptised on Easter eve to bathe on 
Good Friday, ' in order,' says P. Eichard, in 
his Analyse des Conciles, l to rid themselves of 
the impurities contracted during the observ- 
ance of Lent before presenting themselves at 
the sacred font.' The bishops and priesthood 
of some of the Western churches, as at Milan, 
in Spain, and in Wales, washed the feet of 
the newly baptised, in imitation of the 
humiliation of the Redeemer. This was 
forbidden in 303 by the 48th canon of the 
Council of Elvira. 

The Baptistery of the early church was one 
of the exedrce, or out-buildings, and consisted 
of a porch or ante-room, where adult converts 
made their confession of faith, and an inner 
room, where the actual baptism took place. 
Thus it continued till the sixth century, when 
baptisteries began to be taken into the church 
itself. The font was always of wood or 
stone. Indeed, we find the provincial council 
held in Scotland, in 1225, prescribing those 
materials as the only ones to be used. The 
Church in all ages discouraged private 
baptism. By the 55th canon of the same 
Council, the water which had been used to 
baptise a child out of church was to be thrown 
into the fire, or carried immediately to the 
parish baptistery, that it might be employed 
for no other purpose ; in like manner, the 
vessel which, had held it was to be either 
burnt or consecrated for church use. For 

* From a Greek word signifying a bed, whence we derive 
the word clinical. 



many centuries superstitious virtues were 
attributed to water which had been used for 
baptism. The blind bathed their eyes in it in 
the hope of obtaining their sight. It was 
said to ' drown the devil,' and to purify those 
who had recourse to it. 

Baptism was by the early Church strictly 
forbidden during Lent. The Council of 
Toledo, held in 694, ordered by its 2nd canon, 
that, from the commencement of the fast to 
Good Friday, every baptistery should be 
closed, and sealed up with the seal of the 
bishop. The Council held at Reading, Berk- 
shire, in 1279, prescribed that infants born 
the week previous to each Easter and Pen- 
tecost, should be baptised only at those festi- 
vals. There is no restriction of this kind 
preserved by the Reformed Church ; but we 
are admonished in the rubric that the most 
acceptable place and time for the ceremony is 
in church, no later than the first or second 
Sunday after birth. Sundays or holidays 
are suggested, because ' the most number of 
people come together,' to be edified thereby, 
and be witnesses of the admission of the 
child into the Church. Private baptism is 
objected to, except when need shall compel. 

The practice of administering the Eucharist 
to the adult converts to Christianity after 
baptism, was in many churches improperly, 
during the fourth century, extended to infants. 
The priest dipped his fore-finger into the wine, 
and put it to the lips of the child to suck. 
This abuse of the Holy Sacrament did not sur- 
vive the twelfth century. It was repeatedly 
forbidden by various Councils of the Church, 
and at length fell into desuetude. 

Christening fees originated at a very early 
date. At first, bishops and those who had 
aided in the ceremony of baptism were enter- 
tained at a feast. This was afterwards 
commuted to an actual payment of money. 
Both were afterwards forbidden. The 48th 
canon of the Council of Elvira, held in 
303, prohibits the leaving of money in the 
fonts, ' that the ministers of the Church may 
not appear to sell that which it is their duty 
to give gratuitously.' This rule was, how- 
ever, as little observed in the Middle Ages as 
it has been since. Strype says, that in 1560 
it was enjoined by the heads of the Church 
that ' to avoid contention, let the curate have 
the A^alue of the " Chiisome," not under 4d., 
and above as they can agree, and as the state 
of the parents may require.' The Chrisome 
was the white cloth placed by the minister 
upon the head of a child, which had been 
newly anointed with chrism, or hallowed 
ointment composed of oil and balm, always 
used after baptism. The gift of this cloth 
was usually made by the mother at the time 
of Churching. To show how enduring such 
customs are, even after the occasion for them 
has passed away, we need only quote a passage 
from Morant's ' Essex.' ' In Denton Church 
there has been a custom, time out of mind, at 
the churching of a woman, for her to give a 



108 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



jC0a.luct.dby 



white cambric handkerchief to the minister as 
an offering.' The same custom is kept up in 
Kent, as may be seen in Lewis's History of 
the Isle of Thanet. 

The number of sponsors for each child was 
prescribed by the 4th Canon of the Council of 
York, in 1196, to be no more than three per- 
sons ; two males and one female for a boy, 
and two females and one male for a girl ; a 
rule which is still preserved. A custom sprung 
up afterwards, which reversed the old state of 
things. By little and little, large presents 
were looked for from sponsors, not only to 
the child but to its mother ; the result was 
that there grew to be a great difficulty in pro- 
curing persons to undertake so expensive an 
office. Indeed, it sometimes happened that 
fraudulent parents had a child baptised thrice, 
for the sake of the godfather's gifts. To 
remedy these evils, a Council held at Flsle, in 
Provence, in 1288, ordered that thenceforth 
nothing was to be given to the baptised but a 
white robe. This prescription appears to 
have been kept for ages ; Stow, in his 
Chronicle of King James's Reign, says, ' At 
this time, and for many ages, it was not the 
use and custom (as now it is) for godfathers 
and godmothers to give plate at the baptism 
of children, but only to give christening shirts, 
with little bands and cufls, wrought either 
with silk or blue thread, the best of them 
edged with a small lace of silk and gold.' 
Cups and spoons have, however, stood their 
ground as favourite presents to babies on such 
occasions, ever since. ' Apostle spoons ' so 
called because a figure of one of the apostles 
was chased on the handle of each were 
anciently given : opulent sponsors presenting 
the whole twelve. Those in middling circum- 
stances gave four, and the poorer sort con- 
tented themselves with the gift of one, ex- 
hibiting the figure of any saint, in honour of 
whom the child received its name. Thus, in 
the books of the Stationers' Company, we find 
under 1560, 'a spoone the gift of Master Re- 
ginald Woolf, all gilte, with the picture of 
St. John.' 

Shakspeare, in his Henry VIII., makes 
the king say, when Cranmer professes him- 
self unworthy to be sponsor to the young 
princess : 

' Come, come, my lord, you 'd spare your spoons.' 

Again, in Davenant's Comedy of ' The 
Wits,' (1639) : \ 

' My pendants, cascanets, and rings ; 
My christ'ning caudle-cup and spoons, 
Are dissolved into that lump.' 

The coral and bells is an old invention for 
baptismal presents. Coral was anciently con- 
sidered an amulet against fascination and 
evil spirits. 

It is to be regretted that, at the present 
time, the grave responsibilities of the sponsors 
of children is too often considered to end with 
the presentation of some such gifts as we 



have enumerated. It is not to our praise that 
the ties between sponsors and god-children, 
were much closer, and held more sacredly in 
times which we are pleased to call barbarous. 
God-children were placed not only in a state 
of pupilage with their sureties, but also in the 
position of relations. A sort of relationship 
was established even between the God-fathers 
and God-mothers ; insomuch, that marriage 
between any such parties was forbidden 
under pain of severe punishment. This 
injunction, like many others, had it appears 
been sufficiently disobeyed to warrant a special 
canon (12th) of the Council of Compidgne, 
held so early as 757, which enforced the sepa- 
ration of all those sponsors and God-children 
of both sexes who had intermarried, and the 
Church refused the rites of marriage to the 
women so separated. A century after (815) 
the Council of Mayence not only reinforced 
these restrictions and penalties, but added 
others. 

ARCTIC HEROES. 

A FRAGMENT OF NAVAL HISTORY. 

SCKNE, a stupendous region of icebergs and snow. The bare 
mast of a half-buried ship stands among the rifts and 
ridges. Thejigures of two men, covered closely with furs and 
sTcins, slowly emerge from beneath the winter-housing of the 
deck, and descend upon the snow by an upper ladder, and 
steps cut below in the frozen wall of snow. They advance. 

1st Man. We are out of hearing now. Give thy 
heart words. 

[They walk on in silence somt steps further, and then pause. 

2nd Man. Here 'midst the sea's unfathomable ice, 
Life-piercing cold, and the remorseless night 
Which never ends, nor changes its dead face, 
Save in the 'ghast smile of the hopeless moon, 
Must slowly close our sum of wasted hours ; 
And with them all the enterprising dreams, 
Efforts, endurance, and resolve, which make 
The power and glory of us Englishmen. 

1st Man. It may be so. 

2nd Man. Oh, doubt not but it must. 

Day after day, week crawling after week, 
So slowly that they scarcely seem to move, 
Nor we to know it, till our calendar 
Shows us that months have lapsed away, and left 
Our drifting time, while here our bodies lio 
Like melancholy blots upon the snow. 
Thus have we lived, and gradually seen, 
By calculations which appear to mock 
Our hearts with their false figures, that 'tis now 
Three years since we were cut off from the world 
By these impregnable walls of solid ocean ! 

1st Man. All this is true : the physical elements 
We thought to conquer, are too strong for man. 

2nd Man. We have felt the crush of battle 

side by side ; 

Seen our best friends, with victory in their eyes, 
Suddenly smitten down, a mangled heap, 
And thought our own turn might be next; yet 

never 

Drooped we in spirit, or such horror felt 
As in the voiceless tortures of this place, 
Which freezes up the inind. 

1st Man. Not yet. 

2nd Man. I feel it. 

Death, flying red-eyed from the cannon's mouth, 



CUarlea l)icktn 



A CORONER'S INQUEST. 



109 



Were child's play to confront, compared with this. 
Inch by inch famine in the silent frost 
The cold anatomies of our dear friends, 
One by one carried in their rigid sheets 
To lay beneath the snow till he that 's last, 
Creeps to the lonely horror of his berth 
Within the vacant ship, and while the bears 
Grope round and round, thinks of his distant home 
Those dearest to him glancing rapidly 
Through his past life then with a wailful sigh 
And a brief prayer, his soul becomes a blank. 

1st Man. This is despair I '11 hear no more of it. 
We have provisions still. 

2nd Man. And for how long ? 

1st Man. A flock of wild birds may pass over us, 
And some our shots may reach. 

2nd Man. And by this chance 

Find food for one day more. 

1st Man. Yes, and thank God ; 

For the next day may preservation come, 
And rescue from old England. 

2nd. Man. All our fuel 

Is nearly gone ; and as the last log burns 
And falls in ashes, so may we foresee 
The frozen circle sitting round. 

1st Man. Nay, nay 

Our boats, loose spars, our masts, and half our 

decks 

Must serve us ere that pass. But, if indeed 
Nothing avail, and no help penetrate 
To this remote place, inaccessible 
Perchance for years, except to some wild bird 
We came here knowing all this might befal, 
And set our lives at stake. God's will be done. 
I, too, have felt the horrors of our fate : 
Jammed in a moving field of solid ice, 
Borne onward day and night we knew not where, 
Till the loud cracking sounds reverberating 
Far distant, were soon followed by the rending 
Of the vast pack, whose heaving blocks and wedges, 
Like crags broke loose, all rose to our destruction 
As by some ghastly instinct. Then the hand 
Of winter smote the all-congealing air, 
And with its freezing tempest piled on high 
These massy fragments which environ us : 
Cathedrals many-spired, by lightning riven 
Sharp-angled chaos-heaps of palaced cities, 
With splintered pyramids, and broken towers 
That yawn for ever at the bursting moon 
And her four pallid flame-spouts. Now, appalled 
By the long roar o' the cloud-like avalanche 5 
Now, by the stealthy creeping of the glaciers 
In silence tow'rds our frozen ships. So Death 
Hath often whispered to me in the night ; 
And I have seen him in the Aurora-gleam 
Smile as I rose and came upon the deck ; 
Or when the icicle's prismatic glance 
Bright, flashing, and then, colourless, unmoved 

ice 

Emblem'd our passing life, and its cold end. 
Oh, friend in many perils, fail not now ! 
Am I not, e'en as thou art, utterly sick 
Of my own heavy heart, and loading clothes ? 
A mind that in its firmest hour hath fits 
Of madness for some change, that shoot across 
Its steadfastness, and scarce are trampled down. 
Yet, friend, I will not let my spirit sink, 
Nor shall mine eyes, e'en with snow-blindness 

veiled, 

Man's great prerogative of inward sight 
Forego, nor cease therein to speculate 
Oa England's feeling for her countrymen ; 



Whereof relief will some day surely come. 

2nd. Man. I well believe it ; but perhaps too 

late. 
1st. Man. Then, if too late, one noble task 

remains, 

And one consoling thought. We, to the last, 
With firmness, order, and considerate care, 
Will act as though our death-beds were at home, 
Grey heads with honour sinking to the tomb ; 
So future times shall record bear that we, 
Imprisoned in these frozen horrors, held 
Our sense of duty, both to man and God. 

The muffled beat of the ship's bell sounds for evening 

prayers. 

The two men return : they ascend the steps in the snow 
then the ladder and disappear beneath the snow-covered 
housing of the deck. 



A CORONER'S INQUEST. 

IF there appeared a paragraph in the 
newspapers, stating that her Majesty's repre- 
sentative, the Lord Chief Justice of the 
Queen's Bench, had held a solemn Court in the 
parlour of the ' Elephant and Tooth-pick,' the 
reader would rightly conceive that the Crown 
and dignity of our Sovereign Lady had suffered 
some derogation. Yet an equal abasement 
daily takes place without exciting especial 
wonder. The subordinates of the Lord Chief 
Justice of the Queen's Bench (who is, by an 
old law, the Premier Coroner of all England) 
habitually preside at houses of public entertain- 
ment ; yet they are no less delegates of Royalty 
as the name of their office implies * than 
the ermined dignitary himself, when sur- 
rounded with all the pomp and circumstance 
of the law's majesty at Westminster. This 
is quite characteristic of our thoroughly com- 
mercial nation. An action about a money-debt 
is tried in an imposing manner in a spacious 
edifice, and with only too great an excess of 
formality; but for an inquest into the sacri- 
fice of a mere human life, ' the worst inn's 
worst room ' is deemed good enough. In 
order rightly to determine whether Jones 
owes Smith five pounds ten, the Goddess of 
Justice is surrounded with the most imposing 
insignia, and worshipped in an appropriate 
temple : but when she is invoked to decide 
why a human spirit, 

' Unhousel'd, disappointed, unanel'd, 
No reckoning made, is sent to its account 
With all its imperfections on its head ;' 

she is thrust into the ' Hole in the Wall, 
the 'Bag o' Nails,' or the parlour of the 
' Two Spies.' 

Desirous of having aural and ocular de- 
monstration of the curious manner in which 
the office of Coroner is now fulfilled, we were 
attracted, a few weeks since, to the Old Drury 
Tavern, in Vinegar-yard, Drury-lane. Having 
made our way to a small parlour, we per- 
ceived the Majesty of England, as personated 

* It is derived from a corond (from the crowu), because 
the coroner, says Coke, " hath conusance in some pleat 
which are called placita corona." 



110 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



on this occasion, enveloped in an ordinary 
surtout, sitting at the head of a table, and 
surrounded by a knot of good-humoured 
faces, who might, if judged from mere ap- 
pearances, have rallied round their president 
tor some social purpose only that the cigars 
and spirits and water had not yet come in. 
There was nothing official to be seen but a few 
pens, a sheet or two of paper, an inkstand, 
and a parish beadle. 

When we entered, the Coroner was holding 
a friendly conversation with some of the jury, 
the beadle, and the gentlemen of the press, 
respecting the inferiority of the accommoda- 
tion ; and, considering the number of persons 
present, and the accessions expected from 
more jurymen, parochial officers, and wit- 
nesses, the subject was suggested naturally 
enough : for the private apartment of the 
landlord was of exceedingly moderate dimen- 
sions ; and that had been appropriated as the 
temporary Court. 

Here then, to a back parlour of the Old 
Drury Tavern, Vinegar Yard, Drury Lane, 
London, the Queen's representative was con- 
signed by no fault of his own, but from that 
of a system of which he is rather a victim 
than a promoter to institute one of the 
most important inquiries which the law of 
England prescribes. A human being had been 
prematurely sent into eternity, and the 
coroner was called upon amidst several 
implements of conviviality, the odour of gin 
and the smell of tobacco-smoke 'to inquire 
in this manner : that is, to wit, if they [the 
witnesses] know where the person was slain, 
whether it were in any house, field, bed, 
tavern, or company, and who were there ; who 
are culpable, either of the act, or of the 
force ; and who were present, either men or 
women, and of what age soever they be, if 
they can speak or have any discretion ; and 
how many soever be found culpable they shall 
be taken and delivered to the sheriff, and 
shall be committed to the gaol.' So runs the 
clause of the act of parliament, still in force by 
which the coroner and jury were now assem- 
bled. It is the second statute of the fourth year 
of Edward I., and is the identical law which 
is discussed by the grave-diggers in Hamlet. 

The pleasant colloquy about the size of the 
room ended in a resolution to adjourn the 
Court to the ' Two Spies,' in a neighbouring 
alley. Time appeared, throughotrt the pro- 
ceedings, to be as valuable as space, and the 
rest of the jurors having dropped in, the 
coroner with a bible supplied from the bar, 
at once delivered the oath to the foreman. 
The other jurors were rapidly sworn in 
batches, upon the Old Drury Bible, under an 
abridged dispensation administered, if our 
memory be correct, by the beadle. 

'Now, then, gentlemen,' said the coroner, 
' we '11 view the body.' 

Not without alacrity the entire company 
left their confined quarters to breathe such 
air as is vouchsafed in Vinegar Yard. The 



subject of inquiry lay at a baker's shop, ' a 
few doors round the corner,' to use the topo- 
graphical formula of the parish functionary 
and thither he ushered xis. A few of the 
window shutters of the shop were up, but in 
all other respects there was as little to indicate 
a house of death as there was to show it to be 
a house of mourning. If the journeyman had 
not been standing at the end of the counter in 
his holiday coat, it would have seemed as if 
business was going on as usual. There was 
the same tempting display of tarts, the same 
heaps of biscuits, the same supply of loaves, 
the same ranges of flour in paper bags as is 
to be observed in ordinary bakers' shops on 
ordinary occasions. Yet the mistress of this 
particular baker's shop lay dead oiJy a few 
paces within, and its master was in gaol on 
suspicion of having murdered her. 

Through a parlour and a sort of passage 
with a bed and a sink La it, the j ury were shown 
into a confined kitchen. Here, on a mahogany 
dining-table, lay the remains covered with a 
dirty sheet. To describe the spectacle which 
presented itself when the beadle, with busi- 
ness-like immobility turned down the covering, 
does not happily fall within our present 
object. It is, however, necessary to say that 
it presented evidences of continued ill usage 
from blows and kicks, not to be beheld with- 
out strong indignation. Yet this was not all. 

' The cause of death,' said the beadle his 
mind was quite made up ' is on the back ; 
it 's covered with bruises : but I suppose you 
won't want to see that, gentlemen.' 

By no means. Everybody had seen enough ; 
for they were surrounded by whatever could 
increase distress and engender disgust. The 
apartment was so small, that the table left 
only room for the jurors to edge round it one 
by one ; and it was hardly possible to do this, 
without actual contact with the head or feet 
of the corpse. A gridiron and other black 
utensils were hanging against the wall, and 
could only be escaped by the exercise on the 
part of the spectators of great ingenuity of 
motion. This and the bed-place (bed-room is no 
word for it) indicated squalid poverty ; but the 
scene was changed in the parlour. There, ap- 
pearances were at least kept up. It was filled 
with decent furniture even elegancies ; in- 
cluding a pianoforte and a couple of portraits. 

These strange evidences of refinement only 
brought out the squalor, smallness, and un- 
fitness for any part of a judicial inquiry of 
the inner apartments, into more glaring relief. 
Surely so important a function as that of a 
coroner and his jury should not be conducted 
amidst such a scene ! Besides other obvious 
objections, the danger of keeping corpses 
in confined apartments, and in close neigh- 
bourhoods, was here strongly exemplified. 
The smell was so ' close ' and insanitary, that 
the first man who entered the den where the 
body lay, caused the window to be opened. 
Two children, the offspring of the victim and 
the accused, lived in these apartments ; and 



Charles Dickens.] 



A COEONEE'S INQUEST. 



1H 



above stairs the house was crowded with 
lodgei'S, to all of whom any sort of infection 
would have proved the more disastrous from 
living next door, as it were, to Death. It is 
terrible to reflect that every decease happening 
among the myriads of the population a little 
lower in circumstances than this baker, deals 
around it its proportion of destruction to 
the living, from the same causes. True, 
that had it been impossible to retain the 
body where death occurred as chances when 
several persons live in the same room it 
would have been removed. But where. The 
coroner and jury would have had to view it 
in the tap-room of a public-house. 

There is another objection all-powerful in 
the eyes of a lawyer. He recognises as a 
first necessity that the jurors should have no 
opportunity of communicating with witnesses, 
except when before the Court. But here the 
melancholy honours of the baker's shop and 
parlour were performed by the two persons 
from whose evidence the cause of death was 
to be chiefly elicited ; the journeyman and a 
female relative of the deceased, who were in 
the house when the last blows were dealt, 
and when the woman died. They received 
the fifteen jurymen who were presently to 
judge of their testimony ; and there was 
nothing but the strong sense of propriety 
which actuated these gentlemen on the pre- 
sent occasion, to prevent the witnesses from 
Celling their own stoiy privately in their 
own way, to any one or half dozen of the 
inquest, and thus to give a premattire bent 
to opinions, the materials for forming which, 
ought to be strictly reserved for the public 
Court. Many examples can be supplied in 
illustration of this evil. "We select one : 
Some years ago, an old woman in the most 
wretched part of Westminster, was found 
dead in her bed strangled. When the 
Coroner and jury went to view the body, they 
were xishered by a young female a relative 
who lived with the deceased. She ex- 
plained there and then all about the death. 
When the .Court re -assembled, she was 
chiefly, it was understood, in consequence of 
what had previously passed examined as 
first and principal witness, and upon her evi- 
dence, the verdict arrived at, was ' Temporary 
insanity.' The case, however, subsequently 
passed through more formal judicial ordeals, 
and the result was, that the coroner's prime 
witness was hanged for the murder of the 
old woman. We must have it distinctly 
understood that not the faintest shade of 
parallel exists between the two cases. We 
bring them together solely to illustrate the 
evils of a system. 

On passing into the baker's parlour, dumb 
witnesses presented themselves, which pro- 
perly or improperly must have had their 
effect on the promoters of the inquiry. The 
piano indicated hours formerly spent, and 
thoughts once indulged, which, when imagined 
by minds fresh from the appalling reality in 



the squalid kitchen, must have excited new 
throes of indignation and pity. One portrait 
was that of the bruised and crushed corpse 
when living and young. Then she must have 
been comely ; now no feature could be recog- 
nised as ever having been human. Then, she 
was cleanly and neatly dressed, and, if the 
pictured smile might be trusted, happy ; now, 
she lay amidst dirt, the victim of long, long ill- 
nsage and lingering misery, ended in pre- 
mature death. The other, was a likeness of 
her husband. Had words of love ever passed 
between the originals of those painted effigies ? 
Had they ever courted? It seemed that one 
of the jurors was inwardly asking some such 
question while gazing at the portraits, for he 
was visibly affected. 

We all at length made our way to the 
' Two Spies ' in Whitehart Yard, Brydges 
Street. The accommodation afforded was a 
little more spacious than those of the Old 
Drury ; but the delegated Majesty of the 
Crown had no dignity imparted to it from 
the coroner's figure being brought out in 
relief by a clothes-horse and table cloth 
which were, during the inquiry, placed behind 
him to serve as a fire-screen. Neither did 
the case of stuffed birds, the sampler of 
Moses in the bulrushes, the picture of the 
licensed victuallers' school, or the portraits of 
the rubicund host and of his 'good lady,' 
tend to impress the minds of jury, witnesses, 
or spectators, with that awe for the supremacy 
of the Law which a court of justice is expected 
to inspire. 

The circumstances as detailed by the wit- 
nesses are already familiar to the readers of 
newspapers ; but from the insecutive manner 
in which the evidence was produced, it is 
difficult to frame a coherent narrative. It all 
tended to prove that the husband bad for 
several years exercised great harshness to- 
wards his wife. That boxing her ears and 
kicking her were among his 'habits.' On 
the Friday previous to her decease, the 
journeyman had been, as usual, ' bolted 
down ' in the bake-house for the night, 
(such, he said, being the custom in the trade) 
and from eleven o'clock till three in the morn- 
ing he heard a great noise overhead as of two 
persons quarrelling, and of one person drag- 
ging the other across the room. There were 
cries of distress from the deceased woman. 
Another witness a second cousin of the wife 
called on Saturday afternoon. She found 
the wife in a pitiable state from ill-usage 
and want of rest. Her left ear and all that 
part of the head was much bruised. There 
were cuts, and the hair was matted with con- 
gealed blood. The husband was told how 
much she was injured, but he did not appear 
to take any notice of it. A trait of the dread 
in which the woman lived of the man was here 
mentioned ; she asked the witness to ask her 
husband to allow her to lie down. She dared 
not prefer so reasonable a request herself; 
although she had been up all the previous 



112 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



(Conducted by 



night being beaten. He refused. The cousin 
sat down to dinner with the wretched pair ; 
only for the purpose of being between them to 
prevent further violence, for she had dined. 
She remained until half past three o'clock, and 
during that interval the husband frequently 
boxed his wife's ears as hard as he could ; 
and once kicked her with great force. Her 
usual remonstrance was, 'Man alive, don't 
touch me.' The visitor returned in the even- 
ing, and she, with the journeyman, saw another 
brutal attack, some minutes after which the 
victim fell as if in a fit. She was assisted into 
an inner room, sank down and never rose 
again. She lay till the following Sunday 
morning in a state of insensibility, and no 
attempt had been made to procure surgical 
assistance. A practitioner at last was sum- 
moned, gave no hope, and the poor creature 
died on Monday morning. The post-mortem 
examination, described by the surgeon, re- 
vealed the cause of death in the blows at the 
side of the head, which he said was like ' beef- 
steaks when beaten by cooks.' No trace of 
habitual drunkenness appeared. The de- 
ceased had been, in the course of the inquiry, 
charged with that. 

A lawyer would have felt especially fidgetty, 
while these facts were being elicited. The 
questions were put in an undecided rambling 
manner, and were so interrupted by half -made 
remarks from the jurors and other parties in 
the room, that it was a wonder how the 
report of the proceedings, which appeared in 
the morning newspapers, could have been so 
cleverly cleared as it was of the chaff from 
which it was winnowed. One or two circum- 
stances occurred during this time which tended 
to throw over the whole affair the air of an 
ill-played farce. At an interesting point of 
the evidence, the door was opened, and a 
scream from a female voice announced ' Please 
sir, the beadle 's wanted ! ' There were four 
gentlemen sitting on a horse-hair sofa close 
behind some of the jury, with whom more 
than once they entered into conversation, 
doubtless about the case in hand. The way 
in which the coroner took notice of this 
breach of every judisprudential rule, was ex- 
tremely characteristic : he said, in effect, that 
there was, perhaps, no actual harm in it, but 
it might be objected to the parties conversing 
might be relatives of the accused. In fact, he 
mildly insinuated that such unprivileged com- 
munications might warp the jurymen's judg- 
ments that's all ! 

After the coroner had summed up, the jury 
returned a verdict of manslaughter against 
the husband. The Queen's representative 
then retired, and so did the jury and the 
beadle ; a little extra business was done at the 
bar of the ' Two Spies,' and, to use a reporter's 
pet phrase, ' the proceedings terminated.' 

It is far from our desire, in describing this 
particular inquest, in any way to disparage 
supposing anything we have said can be con- 
strued into disparagement any person or 



peraons concerned in it directly or remotely. 
Our wish is to point out the exceeding loose- 
ness, informality, and difficulty of ensuring 
sound judgment, which the system occasions. 
Indeed we were told by a competent authority 
that the proceedings at the Old Drury and 
' Two Spies ' taverns, formed an orderly and 
superior specimen of their class. 

There is a mischief of some gravity, which 
we have yet to notice. The essential check 
upon all judicial or private dereliction is pub- 
licity, and publicity gained through the press 
in all cases which require it ; but the existing 
system gives the coroner the power of ex- 
cluding reporters. He can, if he pleases, make 
a Star-chamber of his court, hold it in a private 
house, and conduct it in secret. Instances 
though very rare ones can be adduced of this 
having been actually done. Here opens a 
door to another abuse ; it is known that a 
certain few among newspaper hangers-on 
persons only connected with the press by the 
precarious and slender tenure of 'a penny- 
a-line' find it profitable to attend inquests 
not for legitimate purposes for their 
' copy ' is seldom inserted by editors but 
to obtain money from relatives and par- 
ties interested in the deceased for what 
they are pleased to call ' suppressing ' their 
reports. This generally happens in cases which 
from their having no public interest whatever 
would not, under any circumstances, be ad- 
mitted into the crowded columns of the 
journals ; for we can with confidence say thaf^ 
any case in which the public interests are 
likely to be staked, once before the editors of 
any London Journal, and supplied by a gentle- 
man of their own establishment, no power on 
earth could suppress it. It has happened 
again occasionally that, from the suddenness 
with which the coroner is summoned, and 
the slovenly manner in which his office is 
performed, an inquest that ought to have 
been made public has wholly escaped the 
knowledge of newspaper conductors and 
their accredited reporters, and has thus 
passed over in silence. 

Let us here put up another guard against 
misconception. No imputation can rest upon 
any accredited member of the press ; the high 
state dignities which some men who have been 
reporters now so well support, are a guarantee 
against that. Neither do we wish to under- 
value th.e important services sometimes per- 
formed by occasional or 'penny-a-line' re- 
porters; among whom there are honourable 
and clever men. "We only point out a small 
body of exceptional characters who are no more 
than what we have described 'hangers-on' 
of the press. 

We now proceed to suggest a remedy for 
the inherent vices of ' Crowner's quests.' 

In the report of the Board of Health on 
intramural interments, upon which a bill now 
before Parliament is founded, it is proposed 
to erect in convenient parts of London eight 
reception-houses for the dead, previous to in- 



Charle> Dickens.] 



FRANCIS JEFFREY. 



113 



tennent in the cemeteries to be established. 
This will remove the mortal remains from that 
immediate and fatal contact fatal, morally as 
well as physically which is compulsory 
among the poorer classes under the existing 
system of sepulture. It appears that of the 
deaths which take place in the metropolis, in 
upwards of 20,000 instances the corpse must 
be kept, during the interval between the death 
and the interment, in the same room in which 
the surviving members of the family live and 
sleep ; while of the 8,000 deaths every year 
from epidemic diseases, by far the greater part 
happen under the circumstances just described. 

If from these causes the necessity for dead- 
houses is so great when no inquest is neces- 
sary, how much stronger is it when the 
services of the coroner are requisite 1 The 
reason given for the peripatetic nature of the 
office, is the assumed necessity of the jury 
seeing the bodies on the spot and in the cir- 
cumstances of death. But that such a neces- 
sity is unreal was proved on the inquest we 
have been detailing, by the fact of the remains 
having been lifted from the bed where life 
ceased, to a table, and having been opened by 
the surgeons. Surely, removal to a wholesome 
and convenient reception-house, would not 
disturb such appearances as may be presumed 
to form evidence. As it is, the only place 
among the poor in which medical men can 
perform the important duty of examination by 
post mortem dissection is a room crowded with 
inmates or the tap-room of the nearest tavern. 

To preserve, then, a degree of order, dignity, 
and solemnity equal at least to that which 
is maintained to try an action for debt, and 
to prevent the possibility of any 'private' 
dealings, we would strongly urge that a suit- 
able Coroner's Court-house be attached to 
each of the proposed reception-houses. A 
clause to this effect can be easily introduced 
into the new bill. With such accommodation 
the coroner could perform his office in a 
manner worthy of a delegate of the Crown, 
and no such informalities as tend to intercept 
and taint the pure stream of Justice could con- 
tinue to exist. 



FKANCIS JEFFREY. 



JEFFREY was a year younger than SCOTT, 
whom he outlived eighteen years, and with 
whose career his own had some points of 
resemblance. They came of the same middle- 
class stock, and had played together as lads 
in the High School ' yard ' before they met as 
advocates in the Court of Session. The fathers 
of both were connected with that Court ; and 
from childhood, both were devoted to the law. 
But Scott's boyish infirmity imprisoned him 
in Edinburgh, while Jeffrey was let loose to 
Glasgow University, and afterwards passed up 
to Queen's College, Oxford. The boys, thus 
separated, had no remembrance of having pre- 
viously met. when they saw each other at the 
Speculative Society in 1791. 



The Oxford of that day suited Jeffrey ill. 
It suited few people well who cared for any- 
thing but cards and claret. Southey, who 
came just after him, tells us that the Greek he 
took there he left there, nor ever passed such 
unprofitable months ; and Lord Malmesbury, 
who had been there but a little time before 
him, wonders how it was that so many men 
should make their way in the world creditably, 
after leaving a place that taught nothing but 
idleness and drunkenness. But Jeffrey was 
not long exposed to its temptations. He left 
after the brief residence of a single term ; and 
what in after life he remembered most vividly 
in connection with it, seems to have been the 
twelve days' hard travelling between Edin- 
burgh and London which preceded his en- 
trance at Queen's. Some seventy years before, 
another Scotch lad, on his way to become yet 
more famous hi literature and law, had taken 
nearly as many weeks to perform the same 
journey ; but, between the schooldays of 
Mansfield and of Jeffrey, the world had not 
been resting. 

It was enacting its greatest modern inci- 
dent, the first French Revolution, when the 
young Scotch student returned to Edinburgh 
and changed his College gown for that of the 
advocate. Scott had the start of him in the 
Court of Session by two years, and had become 
rather active and distinguished in the Specula- 
tive Society before Jeffrey j oined it. When the 
latter, then a lad of nineteen, was introduced, 
(one evening in 1791), he observed a heavy- 
looking young man officiating as secretary, 
who sat solemnly at the bottom of the table 
in a huge woollen night-cap, and who, before 
the business of the night began, rose from his 
chair, and, with imperturbable gravity seated 
on as much of his face as was discernible from 
the wrappings of the ' portentous machine ' 
that enveloped it, apologised for having left 
home with a bad toothache. This was his 
quondam schoolfellow Scott. Perhaps Jeffrey 
was pleased with the mingled enthusiasm 
for the speculative, and regard for the prac- 
tical, implied in the woollen nightcap ; or 
perhaps he was interested by the Essay on 
Ballads which the hero of the night-cap read 
in the course of the evening : but before he 
left the meeting he sought an introduction 
to Mr. Walter Scott, and they were very 
intimate for many years afterwards. 

The Speculative Society dealt with the 
usual subjects of elocution and debate preva- 
lent in similar places then and since ; such as, 
whether there ought to be an Established Re- 
ligion, and whether the Execution of Charles I. 
was justifiable, and if Ossian's poems were au- 
thentic ? It was not a fraternity of speculators 
by any means of an alarming or dangerous sort. 
John Allen and his friends, at this very time, 
were spouting forth active sympathy for 
French Republicanism at Fortune's Tavern, 
under immediate and watchful superinten- 
dence of the Police ; James Macintosh was 
parading the streets with Home Tooke's 



114 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



fConductcd bjr 



colcnirs in his hat ; James Montgomery was 
expiating in York Jail his exulting ballad 
on the Fall of the B;tstille ; and Southey 
and Coleridge, in despair of old England, 
had completed the arrangements of their 
youthful colony for a community of property, 
and proscription of everything seltish, on the 
banks of the Susquehana ; but the Specula- 
tive orators rarely probed the sores of the 
body politic deeper than an inquiry into the 
practical advantages of belief in a future 
state ? and whether it was for the interest of 
Britain to maintain the balance of Europe ? or 
if knowledge could be too much disseminated 
among the lower ranks of the people? 

In short, nothing of the extravagance 
of the time, OE either side, is associable 
with the outset of Jeffrey's career. As little 
does he seem to have been influenced, on ! 
the one hand, by the democratic foray of some 
two hundred convention delegates into Edin- 
burgh in 1792, as, on the other, by the pro- 
minence of his father's name to a protest of 
frantic high-tory defiance ; and he was justified 
not many years since in referring with pride to 
the fact that, at the opening of his public life, 
his view of the character of the first French 
revolution, and of its probable influence on 
other countries, had been such as to require 
little modification during the whole of his sub- 
sequent career. The precision and accuracy 
of his judgment had begun to show itself 
thus eai-ly. At the crude young Jacobins, 
so soon to ripen into Quarterly Reviewers, 
who were just now coquetting with Mary 
Woolstonecraft, or making love to the ghost 
of Madame Roland, or branding as worthy of 
the bowstring the tyrannical enormities of 
Mr. Pitt, he could afford to laugh from the 
first. From the very first he had the strongest 
liberal tendencies, but restrained them so 
wisely that he could cultivate them well. 

He joined the band of youths who then sat 
at the feet of Dugald Stewart, and whose first 
incentive to distinction in the more difficult 
paths of knowledge, as well as their almost 
universal adoption of the liberal school of 
politics, are in some degree attributable to the 
teaching of that distinguished man. Among 
them were Brougham and Homer, who had 
played together from boyhood in Edinburgh 
streets, had joined the Speculative on the same 
evening six years after Jeffrey (who in I 
Brougham soon found a sharp opponent on j 
colonial and other matters), and were still 
fast friends. Jeffrey's father, raised to a de- 
puty clerk of session, now lived on a third or 
fourth flat in Buchanan's Court in the Lawn 
Market, where the worthy old gentleman 
kept two women servants and a man at 
livery ; but where the furniture does not 
seem to have been of the soundest. This 
fact his son used to illustrate by an anecdote 
of the old gentleman eagerly setting-to at 
a favourite dinner one day, with the two 
corners of the table cloth tied round his neck 
to protect his immense professional frills, 



when the leg of his chair gave way, and he 
tumbled back on the floor with all the di. 
s.-iuri's. .-.nil viands a-top of him. Father and 
son lived here together, till the latter took for 
his first wife the daughter of the Professor of 
Hebrew in the University of St. Andrew, and 
moved to an upper story in another part of 
toAvn. He had been called to the bar in 17!)4, 
.-in. 1 was married eight years afterward. He 
had not meanwhile obtained much practice, 
and the elevation implied in removal to an 
xipper flat is not of the kind that a young 
Benedict covets. But distinction of another 
kind was at length at hand. 

One day early in 1802, 'in the eighth or 
ninth story or flat in Buccleugh Place, the 
elevated residence of the then Mr. Jeffrey,' 
Mr. Jeffrey had received a visit from Homel- 
and Sydney Smith, when Sydney, at this time 
a young English curate temporarily resident 
in Edinburgh, preaching, teaching, and joking 
with a flow of wit, humanity, and sense that 
fascinated everybody, started the notion of the 
Edinburgh Review. The two Scotchmen 
at once voted the Englishman its editor, 
and the notion was communicated to John 
Archibald Murray (Lord Advocate after 
Jeffrey, long years afterward), John Allen 
(then lecturing on medical subjects at the 
University, but who went abroad before he 
could render any essential service), and 
Alexander Hamilton (afterwards Sanscrit 
professor at Haileybury). This was the first 
council ; but it was extended, after a few 
days, till the two Thomsons (John and 
Thomas, the physician and the advocate), 
Thomas Brown (who succeeded to Dugald 
Stewart's chair), and Henry Brougham, were 
admitted to the deliberations. Homer's 
quondam playfellow was an ally too potent to 
be obtained without trouble ; and, even thus 
early, had not a few characteristics in common 
with the Roman statesman and orator whom 
it was his greatest ambition in after life to 
resemble, and of whom Shakspeare has told 
us that he never followed anything that other 
men began. 

' You remember how cheerfully Brougham 
approved of our plan at first,' wrote Jeffrey 
to Horner, in April, in the thick of anxious 
preparations for the start, 'and agreed to 
give us an article or two without hesitation. 
Three or four days ago I proposed two or three 
books that I thought would suit him ; when 
he answered, with perfect good humour, that 
he had changed his view of our plan a little, 
and rather thought now that he should 
decline to have any connection wijth it.' This 
little coquetry w;is nevertheless overcome ; 
I >efore the next six months were over, 
Brougham had become an efficient and zea- 
lous member of the band. 

It is curious to see how the project hung fire at 
first. Jeffrey had nearly finished four articles, 
Horner had partly written four, and more 
than half the number was printed ; and yet 
well-nigh the other half had still to be written. 



Charles Dickens.] 



FRANCIS JEFFREY. 



115 



The memorable fasciculus at last appeared in 
November, after a somewhat tedious gestation 
of nearly ten mouths ; having been subject to 
what Jeffrey calls so 'miserable a state of 
backwardness ' and so many ' symptoms of 
despondency,' that Constable had to delay the 
publication some weeks beyond the day first 
iixed. Yet as early as April had Sydney Smith 
completed more than half of what he con- 
tributed, while nobody else had put pen to 
paper ; and shortly after the number appeared 
he was probably not sorry to be summoned, 
with his easy pen and his cheerful wit, to 
London, and to abandon the cares of editorship 
to Jeffrey. 

No other choice could have been made. 
That first number settled the point. It is 
easy to discover that Jeffrey's estimation in 
Edinburgh had not, up to this tune, been in any 
iust proportion to his powers ; and that, even 
with those who knew liim best, his playful 
and sportive fancy sparkled too much to the 
surface of his talk to let them see the grave 
deep currents that ran underneath. Every one 
now read with surprise the articles attributed 
to him. Sydney had yielded him the place of 
honour, and he had vindicated his right to it. 
He had thrown out a new and forcible style 
of criticism, with a fearless, unmisgiving, 
and unhesitating courage. Objectors might 
doubt or cavil at the opinions expressed ; but 
the various and comprehensive knowledge, 
the subtle argumentative genius, the brilliant 
and definite expression, there was no disputing 
or denying. A fresh and startling power was 
about to make itself felt in literature. 

'Jeffrey,' said his most generous fellow 
labourer, a few days after the Review ap- 
peared, ' is the person who will derive most 
honour from this publication, as his articles 
in this number are generally known, and are 
incomparably the best ; I have received the 
greater pleasure from this circumstance, be- 
cause the genius of that little man has re- 
mained almost unknown to all but his most 
intimate acquaintances. His manner is not 
at first pleasing ; what is worse, it is of that 
cast which almost irresistibly impresses upon 
strangers the idea of levity and superficial 
talents. Yet there is not any man, whose 
real character is so much the reverse ; he has, 
indeed, a very sportive and playful fancy, but 
it is accompanied with an extensive and varied 
information, with a readiness of apprehension 
almost intuitive, with judicious and calm 
discernment, with a profound and penetrating 
understanding.' This confident passage from 
a private journal of the 20th November, 1802, 
may stand as a remarkable monument of the 
prescience of Francis Homer. 

Yet it was also the opinion of this candid 
and sagacious man that he and his fellows 
had not gained much character by that first 
number of the Review. As a set-off to the 
talents exhibited, he spoke of the severity of 
what, in some of the papers, might be called 
the scurrility as having given general dis- 



satisfaction ; and he predicted that they would 
have to soften their tone, and be more in- 
dulgent to folly and bad taste. Perhaps it is 
hardly thus that the objection should have 
been expressed. It is now, after the lapse of 
nearly half a century, admitted on all hands 
that the tone adopted by these young Edin- 
burgh reviewers was in some respects ex- 
tremely indiscreet ; and that it was not simply 
folly and bad taste, but originality and genius, 
that had the right to more indulgence at their 
hands. When Lord Jeffrey lately collected Mr. 
Jeffrey's critical articles, he silently dropped 
those very specimens of his power which by 
their boldness of view, severity of remark, and 
vivacity of expression, would still as of old 
have attracted the greatest notice ; and pre- 
ferred to connect with his name, in the regard 
of such as might hereafter take interest in 
his writings, only those papers which, by en- 
forcing what appeared to him just principles 
and useful opinions, he hoped might have a 
tendency to make men happier and better. 
Somebody said by way of compliment of the 
early days of the Scotch Review, that it 
made reviewing more respectable than au- 
thorship ; and the remark, though essentially 
the reverse of a compliment, exhibits with 
tolerable accuracy the general design of the 
work at its outset. Its ardent young re- 
viewers took a somewhat too ambitious stand 
above the literature they criticised. ' To all 
of us,' Horner ingenuously confessed, 'it is 
only matter of temporary amusement and 
subordinate occupation.' 

Something of the same notion was in Scott's 
thoughts when, smarting from a severe but 
not unjust or ungenerous review of Marmion, 
he said that Jeffrey loved to see imagination 
best when it is bitted and managed, and ridden 
upon the grandpas. He did not make sufficient 
allowance for starts and sallies and bounds, 
when Pegasus was beautiful to behold, though 
sometimes perilous to his rider. He would have 
had control of horse as well as rider, Scott com- 
plained, and made himself master of the me- 
nage to both. But on the other hand this was 
often very possible ; and nothing could then be 
conceived more charming than the earnest, 
playful, delightful way in which his comments 
adorned and enriched the poets he admired. 
Hogarth is not happier in Charles Lamb's com- 
pany, than is the homely vigour and genius of 
Crabbe under Jeffrey's friendly leading ; he re- 
turned fancy for fancy to Moore's exuberance, 
and sparkled with a wit as keen ; he ' tamed 
his wild heart ' to the loving thoughtfulness 
of Rogers, his scholarly enthusiasm, his 
pure and vivid pictures ; with the fiery 
energy and passionate extiberance of Byron, 
his bright courageous spirit broke into 
earnest sympathy : for the clear and stirring 
strains of Campbell he had an ever lively and 
liberal response ; and Scott, in the midst of 
many temptations to the exercise of severity, 
never ceased to awaken the romance and 
generosity of his nature. 



116 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



| Conducted by 



His own idea of the more grave critical 
claims put forth by him in his early days, found 
expression in later life. He had constantly 
endeavoured, he said, to combine ethical pre- 
cepts with literary criticism. He had earnestly 
sought to impress his readers with a sense, 
both of the close connection between sound 
intellectual attainments, and the higher ele- 
ments of duty and enjoyment ; and of the just 
and ultimate subordination of the former to 
the latter. Nor without good reason did 
he take this praise to himself. The taste 
which Dugald Stewart had implanted in 
him, governed him more than any other at 
the outset of his career ; and may often 
have contributed not a little, though quite 
unconsciously, to lift the aspiring young me- 
taphysician somewhat too ambitiously above 
the level of the luckless author summoned 
to his judgment seat. Before the third 
year of the review had opened, he had 
broken a spear in the lists of metaphysical 
philosophy even with his old tutor, and with 
Jeremy Bentham, both in the maturity of their 
fame ; he had assailed, with equal gallantry, 
the opposite errors of Priestley and Reid ; 
and, not many years later, he invited his 
friend Alison to a friendly contest, from 
which the fancies of that amiable man came 
out dulled by a superior brightness, by more 
lively, varied, and animated conceptions of 
beauty, and by a style which recommended a 
more than Scotch soberness of doctrine with 
a more than French vivacity of expression. 

For it is to be said of Jeffrey, that when he 
opposed himself to enthusiasm, he did so in 
the spirit of an enthusiast ; and that this had a 
tendency to correct such critical mistakes as 
he may occasionally have committed. And as 
of him, so of his Review. In professing to go 
deeply into the principles on which its judg- 
ments were to be rested, as well as to take 
large and original views of all the important 
questions to which those works might relate, 
it substantially succeeded, as Jeffrey presumed 
to think it had done, in familiarising the public 
mind with higher speculations, and sounder 
and larger views of the great objects of human 
pursuit ; as well as in permanently raising the 
standard, and increasing the influence, of all 
such occasional writings far beyond the limits 
of Great Britain. 

Nor let it be forgotten that the system on 
which Jeffrey established relations between 
his writers and publishers has been of the 
highest value as a precedent in such mat- 
ters, and has protected the independence and 
dignity of a later race of reviewers. He 
would never receive an unpaid-for contribu- 
tion. He declined to make it the interest of 
the proprietors to prefer a certain class of 
contributors. The payment was ten guineas a 
sheet at first, and rose gradually to double 
that sum, with increase on special occasions ; 
and even when rank or other circumstances 
made remuneration a matter of perfect indif- 
ference, Jeffrey insisted that it should never- 



theless be received. The Czar Peter, when 
working in the trenches, he was wont to say, 
received pay as a common soldier. Another 
principle which he rigidly carried out, was that 
of a thorough independence of publishing inte- 
rests. The Edinburgh Review was never 
made in any manner tributary to particular 
bookselling -schemes. It assailed or supported 
with equal vehemence or heartiness the pro- 
ductions of Albemarle-street and Paternoster- 
row. ' I never asked such a thing of him but 
once,' said the late Mr. Constable, describing 
an attempt to obtain a favourable notice from 
his obdurate Editor, ' and I assure you the 
result was no encouragement to repeat such 
petitions.' The book was Scott's edition of 
Swift ; and the result one of the bitterest 
attacks on the popularity of Swift, in one of 
Jeffrey's most masterly criticisms. 

He was the better able thus to carry his 
point, because against more potent influences 
he had already taken a decisive stand. 
It was not till six years after the Review 
was started that Scott remonstrated with 
Jeffrey on the virulence of its party politics. 
But much earlier even than this, the principal 
proprietors had made the same complaint; 
had pushed their objections to the contempla- 
tion of Jeffrey's surrender of the editorship ; 
and had opened negotiations with writers 
known to be bitterly opposed to him. To his 
honour, Southey declined these overtures, and 
advised a compromise of the dispute. Som i 
of the leading Whigs themselves were discon- 
tented, and Horner had appealed to him from 
the library of Holland House. Nevertheless, 
Jeffrey stood firm. He carried the day 
against Paternoster-row, and unassailably es- 
tablished the all-important principle of a 
perfect independence of his publishers' con- 
trol. He stood as resolute against his friend 
Scott ; protesting that on one leg, and the 
weakest, the Review could not and should not 
stand, for that its right leg he knew to be 
politics. To Horner he replied by carrying 
the war into the Holland House country with 
inimitable spirit and cogency. ' Do, for 
Heaven's sake, let your Whigs do something 
popular and effective this session. Don't you 
see the nation is now divided into two, and 
only two parties ; and that between these stand 
the Whigs, utterly inefficient, and incapable 
of ever becoming efficient, if they will still 
maintain themselves at an equal distance from 
both. You must lay aside a great part of 
your aristocratic feelings, and side with the 
most respectable and sane of the democrats.' 

The vigorous wisdom of the advice was 
amply proved by subsequent events, and 
its courage nobody will doubt who knows 
anything of what Scotland was at the time. 
In office, if not in intellect, the Tories were 
supreme. A single one of the Dundases 
named the sixteen Scots peers, and forty-three 
of the Scots commoners ; nor was it an im- 
possible farce, that the sheriff of a county 
should be the only freeholder present at the 



Charlet Dickens.] 



FKANCIS JEFFREY. 



117 



election of a member to represent it in 
Parliament, should as freeholder vote him- 
self chairman, should as chairman receive the 
oaths and the writ from himself as sheriff, 
should as chairman and sheriff sign them, 
should propose himself as candidate, declare 
himself elected, dictate and sign the minutes 
oi election, make the necessary indenture be- 
tween the various parties represented solely 
by himself, transmit it to the Crown-office, 
and take his seat by the same night's mail to 
vote with Mr. Addington ! We must recollect 
such things, when we would really understand 
the services of such men as Jeffrey. We 
must remember the evil and injustice he so 
strenuously laboured to remove, and the cost 
at which his labour was given. We must 
bear in mind that he had to face day by day, 
in the exercise of his profession, the very men 
most interested in the abuses actively assailed, 
and keenly resolved as far as possible to dis- 
turb and discredit their assailant. ' Oh, Mr. 
Smith,' said Lord Stowell to Sydney, 'you 
would have been a much richer man if you 
had come over to us ! ' This was in effect the 
sort of thing said to Jeffrey daily in the Court 
of Session, and disregarded with generous 
scorn. What it is to an advocate to be on the 
deaf side of ' the ear of the Court,' none but 
an advocate can know ; and this, with Jeffrey, 
was the twenty-five years' penalty imposed 
upon him for desiring to see the Catholics 
emancipated, the consciences of dissenters 
relieved, the barbarism of jurisprudence miti- 
gated, and the trade in human souls abolished. 
The Scotch Tories died hard. Worsted in 
fair fight they resorted to foul ; and among 
the publications avowedly established for 
personal slander of their adversaries, a pre- 
eminence so infamous was obtained by the 
Beacon, that it disgraced the cause irretriev- 
ably. Against this malignant libeller Jeffrey 
rose in the Court of Session again and again, 
and the result of its last prosecution showed 
the power of the party represented by it 
thoroughly broken. The successful advocate, 
at length triumphant even in that Court 
over the memory of his talents and virtues 
elsewhere, had now forced himself into the 
front rank of his profession ; and they who 
listened to his advocacy found it even more 
marvellous than his criticism, for power, 
versatility, and variety. Such rapidity yet 
precision of thought, such volubility yet clear- 
ness of utterance, left all competitors behind. 
Hardly any subject could be so indifferent or 
uninviting, that this teeming and fertile intel- 
lect did riot surround it with a thousand graces 
of allusion, illustration, and fanciful expression. 
He might have suggested Butler's hero, 

' who could not ope 
His mouth but out there flew a trope,' 

with the difference that each trope flew to its 
proper mark, each fancy found its place in the 
dazzling profusion, and he could at all times, 
with a charming and instinctive case, put the 



nicest restraints and checks on his glowing 
velocity of declamation. A worthy Glasgow 
baillie, smarting under an adverse verdict ob- 
tained by these facilities of speech, could find 
nothing so bitter to advance against the speaker 
as a calculation made with the help of John- 
son's Dictionary, to the effect that Mr. Jeffrey, 
in the course of a few hours, had spoken the 
whole English language twice over ! 

But the Glasgow baillie made little im- 
pression on his fellow citizens ; and from Glas- 
gow came the first public tribute to Jeffrey's 
now achieved position, and legal as well as lite- 
rary fame. He was elected Lord Eector of 
the University in 1821 and 1822. Some seven 
or eight years previously he had married the 
accomplished lady who survives him, a grand- 
niece of the celebrated Wilkes ; and had pur- 
chased the lease of the villa near Edinburgh 
which he occupied to the time of his death, 
and whose romantic woods and grounds will 
long be associated with his name. At each 
step of his career a new distinction now 
awaited him, and with every new occasion 
his unflagging energies seemed to rise and 
expand. He never wrote with such masterly 
success for his Eeview as when his whole time 
appeared to be occupied with criminal prose- 
cutions, with contested elections, with journey- 
ings from place to place, with examinings and 
cross-examinings, with speeches, addresses, 
exhortations, denunciations. In all con- 
ditions and on all occasions, a very atmos- 
phere of activity was around him. Even as 
he sat, apparently still, waiting to address a 
jury or amaze a witness, it made a slow man 
nervous to look at him. Such a flush of 
energy vibrated through that delicate frame, 
such rapid and never ceasing thought played 
on those thin lips, such restless flashes of 
light broke from those kindling eyes. You 
continued to look at him, till his very silence 
acted as a spell ; and it ceased to be difficult 
to associate with his small but well-knit figure 
even the giant-like labours and exertions of 
this part of his astonishing career. 

At length, in 1829, he was elected Dean of 
the Faculty of Advocates ; and thinking it un- 
becoming that the official head of a great law 
corporation should continue the editing of a 
party organ, he surrendered the management 
of the Edinburgh Eeview. In the year follow- 
ing, he took office with the Whigs as Lord 
Advocate, and replaced Sir James Scarlett in 
Lord Fitzwilliam's borough of Malton. In 
the next memorable year he contested his 
native city against a Dundas ; not succeeding in 
his election, but dealing the last heavy blow to 
his opponent's sinking dynasty. Subsequently 
he took his seat as Member for Perth, intro- 
duced and carried the Scotch Eeform bill, and 
in the December of 1832 was declared member 
for Edinburgh. He had some great sorrows at 
this time to check and alloy his triumphs. Pro- 
bably no man had gone through a life of eager 
conflict and active antagonism with a heart 
so sensitive to the gentler emotions, and the 



118 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



di-aths of Macintosh and Scott afl'ected him 
deeply. He had had occasion, during the ill- 
I of the latter, to allude to him in tin.- 
House of Commons ; and he did this with so 
much beauty and delicacy, with such manly 
admiration of the genius and modest de- 
ference to the opinions of his great Tory 
friend, that Sir Robert Peel made a journey 
across the floor of the house to thank him 
cordially for it. 

The House of Commons nevertheless was 
not his natural element, and when, in 1834, a 
vacancy in the Court of Session invited him to 
his due promotion, he gladly accepted the dig- 
nified and honourable office so nobly earned 
by his labours and services. He was in his 
sixty-second year at the time of lus appoint- 
ment, and he continued for nearly sixteen 
years the chief ornament of the Court in 
which he sat. In former days the judg- 
ment-seats in Scotland had not been unused 
to the graces of literature : but in Jeffrey these 
were combined with an acute and profound 
knowledge of law less usual in that connection ; 
and also with such a charm of demeanour, 
such a play of fancy and wit sobered to the 
kindliest courtesies, such clear sagacity, per- 
fect freedom from bias, consideration for all 
differences of opinion ; and integrity, inde- 
pendence, and broad comprehensiveness of 
view in .maintaining his own ; that there has 
never been but one feeling as to his judicial 
career. Universal veneration and respect at- 
tended it. The speculative studies of his youth 
had done much to soften all the asperities of his 
varied and vigorous life, and now, at its close, 
they gave to his judgments a large reflective- 
ness of tone, a moral beauty of feeling, and a 
philosophy of charity and good taste, which 
have left to his successors in that Court of 
Session no nobler models for imitation and 
example. Impatience of dulness would break 
from him, now and then ; and the still busy 
activity of his mind might be seen as he rose 
often suddenly from his seat, and paced up 
and down before it ; but in his charges or 
decisions nothing of this feeling was percep- 
tible, except that lightness and grace of ex- 
pression in which his youth seemed to linger 
to the last, and a quick sensibility to emotion 
and enjoyment which half concealed the 
ravages of time. 

If such was the public estimation of this 
great and amiable man, to the very termina- 
tion of his useful life, what language should 
describe the charm of his influence in his 
private and domestic circle 'I The affectionate 
pride with widen every citizen of Edinburgh 
regarded him rose here to a kind of idolatry. 
For here the whole man w;is known his kind 
heart, his open hand, his genial talk, his ready 
sympathy, his generous encouragement and 
assistance to all that needed it. The first 
passion of his life was its last, and never was 
the love of literature so bright within him as 
at the brink of the grave. What dims ;i.inl 
deadens the impressibility of most men, had 



rendered his not only more acute and fresh, 
but more tributary to calm satisfaction, and 
pure enjoyment. He did not live merely 
in the past, as age is wont to do, but drew 
delimit from every present manifestation of 
worth or genius, from whatever qiiartcr it 
addressed him. His vivid pleasure where his 
interest was awakened, his alacrity and eager- 
ness of appreciation, the fervour of his en- 
couragement and praise, have animated the 
hopes and relieved the toil alike of the suc- 
cessful and the unsuccessful, who cannot 
hope, through whatever chequered future may 
await them, to find a more generous critic, 
a more profound adviser, a more indulgent 
friend. 

The present year opened upon Francis 
Jeffrey with all hopeful promise. He had 
mastered a severe illness, and resumed his 
duties with his accustomed cheerfulness ; pri- 
vate circumstances had more than ordinarily 
interested him in his old Review ; and the 
memory of past friends, giving yet greater 
: strength to the affection that surrounded him, 
i was busy at his heart. ' God bless you ! ' he 
wrote to Sydney Smith's widow on the night of 
the 18th of January ; ' I am very old, and have 
many infirmities ; but I am tenacious of old 
friendships, and find much of my present en- 
joyments in the recollections of the past.' He 
sat in Court the next day, and on the Monday 
and Tuesday of the following week, with his 
faculties and attention unimpaired. On the 
Wednesday he had a slight attack of bronchitis ; 
on Friday, symptoms of danger appeared ; and 
on Saturday he died, peacefully and without 
pain. Few men had completed with such 
consummate success the work appointed them 
in this world ; few men had passed away to a 
better with more assured hopes of their reward. 
The recollection of his virtues sanctifies his 
fame ; and his genius will never cease to 
awaken the gratitude, respect, and pride of 
lu's countrymen. 

HAIL AND FAREWELL! 



THE YOUNG JEW OF TUNIS. 



PEOPLE are glad to be assured that an 
interesting stoiy is true. The following his- 
tory was communicated to the writer by a 
friend, residing in the East, who had it from 
the French Consul himself. It reminds one 
of the Arabian Nights. 

In the year 1836, a Jewish family residing 
in Algiers were plunged in the greatest dis- 
tress by the death of the father. A son, two 
daugh tiers, and a mother were by this calamity 
left almost destitute. After the funeral, the 
son, whose name was Ibrahim, sold what 
little property there was to realise and gave it 
to his mother and sisters ; after which, com- 
mending them to the charity of a distant re- 
lative, he left Algiers and departed for Tunis, 
hoping that if he did not find his fortune, he 
would at least make a livelihood there. 

He presented himself to the French Consul 



Charles Dickcna.1 



THE YOUNG JEW OF TUNIS. 



119 



with Ids papers, and requested a license as a 
donkey-driver. This was granted, and Ibra- 
him entered the service of a man who let 
out asses, both for carrying water :ind for hire. 

Ibrahim was extremely handsome and very- 
graceful in his demeanour ; but, being so poor, 
his clothes were too ragged for him to be em- 
ployed on anything but drudgery that was 
out of sight. He used to be sent with water- 
skins to the meanest parts of the town. 

One day, as he was driving his ass 
laden with water up a narrow street, he met 
a cavalcade of women riding (as usual in 
that country) upon donkeys covered with 
sumptuous housings. He drew on one side 
io allow them to pass by, but a string of 
camels coming up at the same instant, there 
ensued some confusion. The veil of one of 
the women became slightly deranged, and 
Ibrahim caught sight of a lovely countenance. 

He contrived to ascertain who the lady was 
and where she lived. She was Eebecca, the 
only daughter of a wealthy Jew. 

.From this time, Ibrahim had but one 
thought; that of becoming rich enough to 
demand Eebecca in marriage. He had 
already saved up a few pieces of money ; 
with these he bought himself better clothes, 
and he was now sometimes sent to conduct 
the donkeys hired out for riding. 

It so chanced, that one of his first expedi- 
tions was to take Eebecca and her attendants 
to a mercer's shop. Either from accident or 
coquetry, Eebecca's veil became again de- 
ranged, and again Ibrahim beheld the hea- 
venly face beneath it. Ibrahim's appearance, 
and his look of burning passionate love, did not 
displease the young Jewess. He frequently 
attended her on her excursions, and he was 
often permitted to see beneath the veil. 

Ibrahim deprived himself almost of the 
necessaries of life, and at length saved enough 
money to purchase an ass of his own. By 
degrees he was able to buy more, and became 
a master employing boys under him. 

When he thought himself sufficiently well 
off in the world, he presented himself before 
the family of Eebecca, and demanded her in 
marriage ; but they did not consider his pros- 
pects brilliant, and rejected his proposals with 
contempt. Eebecca, however, sent her old 
nurse to him (just as a lady in the ' Arabian 
Nights' might have sent a similar messenger) 
to let him know that the family contempt 
was not shared by her. 

Ibrahim was more determined than ever to 
obtain her. He went to a magician, who 
bade him return to Algiers, and declared that 
if he accepted the first offer of any kind which 
he should receive after entering the city, he 
would become rich and obtain the desire of 
his heait. 

Ibrahim sold his asses and departed for 
Algiers. He walked up and down the streets 
till nightfall, in expectation of the mysterious 
offer which had been foretold but no one 
came. 



lie had, however, been observed by a rich 
widow, somewhat advanced in years, a French- 
woman and the widow of an officer of engi- 
neers. She dispatched an attendant to dis- 
cover who he was and where he lived, and the 
next day sent for him to her house. His 
graceful address fascinated her even more 
than his good looks, and she made him over- 
tures of marriage : offering at the same time 
to settle upon him a handsome portion of her 
wealth. 

This was not precisely the mode in which 
Ibrahim had intended to make his fortune ; 
but, he recollected the prediction of the ma- 
gician, and accepted the proposal. 

They were married, and for twelvemonths 
Ibrahim lived with his wife in great splendour 
and apparent happiness. At the end of that 
time he professed to be called to Tunis by in- 
dispensable business, which would require his 
presence for some time. His wife made no 
opposition, though she was sorry to lose him, 
and wished to accompany him ; but that he 
prohibited, and departed alone : taking with 
him a good supply of money. 

He again presented himself before the 
French Consul at Tunis, who was surprised 
at the change in his appearance. His vest of 
flowered silk, brocaded with gold, was girded 
round the waist by a Barbary sash of the 
richest silk ; his ample trowsers of fine cloth 
were met by red morocco boots ; a Cashmere 
shawl of the most radiant colours was twisted 
round his head ; his beard, carefully trimmed, 
fell half-way down his breast ; a jewelled 
dagger hung at his girdle ; and an ample 
Bournooz worn over all, gave an additional 
grace to his appearance, while it served to 
conceal his rich attire, which far exceeded the 
license of the sad-coloured garments pre- 
scribed by law to the Jews. 

He lost no time in repairing to the house 
of Eebecca. She was still unmarried, and 
again he made his proposals ; this time it was 
with more success. He had all the appear- 
ance of a man of high consideration ; and the 
riches which he half-negligently displayed, 
took their due effect. He had enjoyed a good 
character when he lived at Tunis before, and 
they took it for granted that he had done 
nothing to forfeit it. They asked no questions 
how his riches had been obtained, but gave 
him Eebecca in marriage. 

At the end of six months, the French 
Consul received inquiries from Algiers about 
Ibrahim ; his wife, it was said, had become 
alarmed at his prolonged absence. 

The Consul sent for Ibrahim, and told him 
what he had heard. Ibrahim at first appeared 
disturbed and afterwards indignant. He 
denied in the strongest terms that he had 
any other wife than Eebecca, but owned 
that the woman in , question had fallen in 
love with him. He also denied that he l;ad 
given her any sort of legal claim upon him. 
The French Consul was perplexed ; Ibrahim's 
papers were all regular, he had always led 



120 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



an exemplary life in Tunis, he denied his 
marriage, and there was no proof of it. 

Had Ibrahim retained the smallest presence 
of mind, no harm could have befallen him. 
In that land of polygamy, his two wives (even 
though one were European) would have 
caused little scandal. His domestic position 
was somewhat complicated but by no means 
desperate. On departing from the Consul's 
house, however, he would seem to have be- 
come possessed by a strange panic not to be 
explained by any rules of logic, and to have 
gone mad straightway. His one idea was 
that he was hurried on by destiny to murder 
Rebecca ! 

This miserable wretch, possessed by the fixed 
idea of destroying Rebecca, made deliberate 
preparations for carrying it into effect. But 
with the strange fanaticism and superstition 
which formed .a main part of his character, and 
which forms a part of many such characters in 
those countries, he determined to give her a 
chance for her life ; for, he seems to have 
thought in some confused, wild, mad, vain 
way, that it might still be the will of Pro- 
vidence that she should live. 

He concerted measures with the captain of 
a Greek vessel, whom he induced by heavy 
bribes to enter into his views. He gave it 
out that he was going to Algiers, to put an 
end to the ridiculous report which had been 
raised, and to destroy the claim which had 
been set up by his pretended wife. 

He embarked with Rebecca, without any 
attendants, on board the Greek vessel, which 
was bound for Algiers. Rebecca was taken 
at once into the cabin, where her curiosity 
was excited by a strange-looking black box 
which stood at one end of it. The black box 
was high and square, and large enough to 
contain a person sitting upright. The lid was 
thrown back ; and she saw that the box was 
lined with thick cotton cloth, and contained a 
small brass pitcher full of water and a loaf of 
bread. Whilst she was examining these things, 
Ibrahim and the Captain entered ; they neither 
of them spoke one word ; but, coming behind 
her, Ibrahim placed his hand over her mouth, 
and muffling her head in her veil, lifted her 
into the box with the assistance of the captain, 
and shut down the lid, which they securely 
fastened. They then carried the box between 
them upon deck, and lowered it over the side 
of the vessel. The box had holes bored hi 
the lid ; it was very strong ; and so built as 
to float like a boat. 

The Greek vessel continued her course 
towards Algiers. Either the crew had really 
not noticed the strange proceedings of Ibra- 
him and the Captain, or (which is more 
probable) they were paid to be silent. It is 
certain that they did not attempt to interfere. 

The next morning, as a French steamer, the 
Panama, was bearing towards Tunis, some- 
thing like the hull of a small vessel was seen 
drifting about directly in their course. They 
nicked it up, as it floated athwart the steamer's 



bow ; and were horrified to hear feeble cries 
proceeding from the interior. Hastily break- 
ing it open, they found the unhappy Rebecca 
nearly dead with fright and exhaustion. 
When she was sufficiently recovered to speak, 
she told the captain how she had come into 
that strange condition, and he made all speed 
on to Tunis. 

The French Consul immediately dispatched 
a swift sailing steamer to Algiers with Rebecca 
and her nearest friends on board, bearing a 
dispatch to the governor, containing a hasty 
account of all these things. The steamer 
arrived first. When the Greek vessel entered 
the port, Ibrahim and the Captain were 
ordered to follow the officer on guard, and in 
a few moments Ibrahim stood face to face 
with his victim. To render the complication 
more complete, the French wife hearing that 
a steamer from Tunis had arrived with dis- 
patches, went down to the governor's house 
to make inquiries after her husband. 

At first, Ibrahim nearly fainted ; but he 
soon regained his insane self, and boldly con- 
fessed his crime. Addressing himself to 
Rebecca, he said : 

' I confided thee to the sea, for I thought it 
might be the will of Providence to save thee ! 
If thou hadst died, it would have been Provi- 
dence that decreed thy fate, but thou art 
saved, and I am destroyed.' 

Both the wives wept bitterly. Their natural 
jealousy of each other was merged into the 
desire to save the fanatic from the conse- 
quence of his madness. Rebecca attempted 
to deny her former statement, and used great 
intercession with her relatives to forego their 
vengeance. The Frenchwoman made interest 
with the authorities too, but it was all, 
happily, hi vain. The friends of Rebecca were 
implacable and insisted on justice. 

Ibrahim works now hi the gallies at Toulon. 
The captain is under punishment also. The 
magician, it is to be feared, is practising his old 
trade. 

This is, perhaps, as strange an instance as 
there is on record, of an audacious and besotted 
transference of every responsibility to Provi- 
dence. As though Providence had left man 
to work out nothing for himself ! It is pro- 
bable that this selfish monomaniac made the 
same pretext to his mind for basely marrying 
the widow, whom he intended to desert. 
There is no kind of impiety so monstrous as 
this ; and yet there is, perhaps, none encoun- 
tered so frequently, in one phase or other, in 
many aspects of life. 



To be Published ttmtUy, with the Magazines, 
Price 2d., or Stamped, 3d., 

THE HOUSEHOLD NARRATIVE 

CURRENT EVENTS. 

CONDCCTK1) 

BY CHARLES DICKENS. 

BSIHO 

A Monthly Supplement to 'HOUSEHOLD WORDS.' 



Published t the Office, No 1. Wellington Street North. Strand. Printed bj BRAummT ft Ev<m. Whllrrrisrs London. 



Familiar in their Mouths as HOUSEHOLD WORDS." SHAKESPEARE. 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 

A WEEKLY JOURNAL 
CONDUCTED BY CHARLES DICKENS. 



6.] 



SATURDAY, MAY 4, 1850. 



[PRICE Id. 



THE HEAET OF MID-LONDON. 



IT was with singular pride that Mr. Thomas 
Bovington of Long Hornets, Bucks, viewed 
his first ' lot ' of fat bullocks as they filed 
their way out of his stock-yard towards the 
nearest Station of the North Western Rail- 
way. They were so sleek, so well fed, and 
so well behaved, that they turned out of their 
stalls with the solemn sobriety of animals 
attending their own funeral. Except a few 
capers cut by a lively West Highlander, they 
sauntered along like beasts who had never had 
a care in their lives. For how were they to 
know that the tips of their horns pointed to 
that bourne from whence few bovine travellers 
return Smithfield ? Smithfield, the Heart of 
Mid-London, the flower of the capital the 
true, original, London-Pride, always in full 
bloom ! A merciful ignorance blinded them 
to the fact that, the master who had fed and 
pampered them with indulgent industry 
who had administered their food out of the 
scientific dietaries of Liebig ; who had built 
their sheds after the manner of Huxtable ; 
who had stalled and herded them in imi- 
tation of Pusey : who had littered them out of 
' Stevens's Book of the Farm '-r-was about, 
with equal care and attention to their com- 
fort, to have them converted into cash, and 
then into beef. 

This was Mr. Boviugton's first transaction 
in bullocks. Since his retirement from North- 
ampton (where he made a small fortune by 
tanning the hides he now so assiduously filled 
out), he had devoted his time, his capital, and 
his energy to stock-farming. His sheep had 
always sold well ; so well indeed, that he had 
out-stocked the local markets ; and, on the 
previous morning, had driven off a threescore 
flock to the same destination and on the 
same tragic errand, as that of his oxen. His 
success in the production of mutton had given 
him courage : he had, therefore, soared to 
beef. Only the Thursday before a neighbour- 
ing former had pronounced of his herd to his 
face, that ' a primer lot of beasts he never see 
nowheres.' 

Mr. Bovington had several hours to spare 
before the passenger-train was due in which 
he intended to follow his cattle. Like a 
thrifty man he spent a part of it over his 
stock-book, to settle finally at what figure he 



could afford to sell. He was an admirable 
book-keeper ; he could tell to an ounce how 
much oil-cake each ox had devoured, to a root 
how many beets ; and, to a wisp, how much 
straw had been used for litter. The acreage 
of pasture was, also, minutely calculated. The 
result was, that Mr. Bovington could find 
in an instant the cost price of each stone of 
the flesh that had just departed of its own 
motion towards the shambles. 

To a mercenary mind ; to a man whose 
whole soul is ground down to considerations 
of mere profit (considerations which many 
profound politico-philosophers deplore as 
entering too largely into the agricultural 
mind) the result of Mr. Bovington's com- 
parison of the cost with the present market 
prices, would have been extremely unsatis- 
factory. What he had produced at about 
3s. 9d. per stone, he found by the ' Mark- 
lane Express ' was ' dull at 3s. Qd., sinking the 
offal.' Neither had the season been favour- 
able for sheep at least, not for his sheep 
and by them, too, he would be a loser. 
But what of that ? Mr. Bovington's object 
was less profit than fame. As a beginner, he 
wanted to establish a first-class character in 
the market ; and, that obtained, it would be 
time enough to turn his attention to the 
economics of feeding and breeding. With what 
pride would he hear the praises of those astute 
critics, the London butchers, as they walked 
round and round, pinching and punching each 
particular ox, enumerating his various good 
point?, and contrasting it with the meaner, 
leaner stock of the mere practical graziers ! 
With what confidence he could command the 
top price, and with what certainty he could 
maintain it for his ' lots ' in future ! 

Mr. Bovington was as merciful as he was 
above immediate gam. He could not trust 
the stock he had nurtured and fed, to the un- 
controlled dominion of drovers. Though 
hurried to their doom, he would take care 
that they should be killed 'comfortably.' 
He considered this as a sacred duty, else he 
who Avas a pattern to the parisli would not 
have thus employed himself on a Sunday. 
As he took his ticket at the station, the 
chimes for evening service had just struck 
out. His conscience smote him. As his eye 
roved over the peaceful glades of Long 
Hovnets, on which the evening sun was 



122 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



lowering his beams, he contrasted the holy 
Sabbath calm with the scene of excitement 
into which he was voluntarily plunging him- 
self. As a kind of salve to liis troubled mind, 
he determined to pay extra care and attention 
to the comfort of his cattle. 

His consignment was to remain, till Smith- 
field market opened at eleven o'clock on the 
Sunday night, at the Islington lairs. Thither 
Mr. Bovington repaired on landing at the 
Euston Station in a very fast cab. On his 
way, he calculated what the cost would be 
of all the fodder, all the water, and all the at- 
tendance, which his sheep and oxen would 
have received during their temporary sojourn. 
The first question he put, therefore, to the 
drover on arriving at the lairs, was : 

" What 's to pay 1 " 

"Wot for?" 

" Why," replied the amateur grazier, " for 
the feed of my sheep since last night ! " 

" Feed ! " repeated the man with staring 
wonder. " Who ever heerd of feedin' markit 
sheep ? Why, they '11 be killed on Monday or 
Tuesday, won't they 1 " 

If sold." 

" Well they '11 never want no more wittles, 
will they 1 " 

" But they have had nothing since Satur- 
day ! " 

" What on it ! Sheep as comes to Smithfield 
never has no feed, has they 1 " 

" Nor water either ? " said Mr. Bovington. 

" / should think not ! " replied the drover. 

As he spoke, he drove the point of his goad 
into the backs of each of a shorn flock that 
happened to be passing. He had no business 
with them, but it was a way he had. 

With sorrowful eyes, Mr. Bovington sought 
out his own sheep. Poor things ! They lay 
closely packed, with their tongues out, panting 
for suction ; for they were too weak to bleat. 
He would have given any money to relieve 
them ; but relief no money could buy. 

Mr. Bovington was glad to find his bullocks 
in better plight. To them, fodder and drink 
had been sparingly supplied, but they were 
wedged in so tightly that they had hardly 
room to breathe. Their good looks which had 
cost, him so much expenditure of oil-cake, and 
anxiety, and for which he had expected so 
much praise from buyers would be quite 
gone before they got to Smithfield. 

"It aint o' no use a fretting," said the 
master drover, "your'n aint no worse off nor 
t'others. What you've got to do, is, to git to 
bed, and meet me in the markit at four." 
Naming a certain corner. 

" Well," said Mr. Bovington, seeing there 
was no help for it, " let it be so ; but I trust 
you will take care to gut my lots driven down 
by humane drovers." 

Mr. Whelter that was the master-drover's 
name assented, in a manner that showed he 
had not the remotest idea what a humane 
driver was, or where the article was to be 
found. 



Mr. Bovington could get no rest, and went 
his way towards the market, long before the 
time appointed. Before he came within sight 
of Smithfield, a din as of a noisy Pande- 
monium filled his ears. The shouting of 
some of the drovers, the shrill whistle of 
others, the barking of dogs, the bleating of 
sheep, and the lowing of cattle, were the 
natural expressions of a crowded market ; 
but, added to these, were other sounds, which 
made Mr. Bovington shudder something 
between the pattering of a tremendous hail- 
storm, and the noise of ten thousand games of 
single stick played, all at once, in sanguinary 
earnest. 

He was not a particularly nervous man, 
and did not shudder without reason. When 
he came into the market, he saw at a glance 
enough to know that. He stood looking about 
him in positive horror. 

To get the bullocks into their allotted stands, 
an incessant punishing and torturing of the 
miserable animals a sticking of prongs into 
the tender part of their feet, and a twisting of 
their tails to make the whole spine teem with 
pain was going on : and this seemed as much 
a part of the market, as the stones in its 
pavement. Across their homs, across their 
hocks, across their haunches, Mr. Bovington 
saw the heavy blows rain thick and fast, let 
him look where he would. Obdurate heads 
of oxen, bent down in mute agony ; bellowing 
heads of oxen lifted up, snorting out smoke 
and slaver ; ferocious men, cursing and swear- 
ing, and belabouring oxen ; made the place a 
panorama of cruelty and suffering. By every 
avenue of access to the market, more oxen were 
pouring in : bellowing, in the confusion, and 
under the falling blows, as if all the church- 
organs in the world were wretched instruments 
all there and all being tuned together. 
Mixed up with these oxen, were great flocks of 
sheep, whose respective drovers were in agonies 
of mind to prevent their being intermingled in 
the dire confusion ; and who raved, shouted, 
screamed, swore, whooped, whistled, danced 
like savages ; and, brandishing their cudgels, 
laid about them most remorselessly. All this 
was being done, in a deep red glare of burning 
torches, which were in themselves a strong 
addition to the horrors of the scene ; for the 
men who wore arranging the sheep and lambs 
in their miserably confined pens, and forcing 
them to their destination through alleys of 
the most preposterously small dimensions, 
constantly dropped gouts of the blazing pitch 
upon the miserable creatures' backs ; and to 
smell the singeing and burning, and to see 
the poor things shrinking irom this roasting, 
inspired a sickness, a disgust, a pity and 
an indignation, almost insupportable. To 
reflect that the gate of St. Bartholomew's 
Hospital was in the midst of this devilry, 
and that such a monument of years of sym- 
pathy for human pain should stand there, 
jostling this disgraceful record of years of disre- 
gard of brute endurance to look up at the 



Chartes Dicken 



THE HEART OF MID-LONDON. 



123 



faint lights in the windows of the houses where 
the people were asleep, and to think that some 
of them had been to Public Prayers that 
Sunday, and had typified the Divine love and 
gentleness, by the panting, footsore creature, 
burnt, beaten, and needlessly tormented there, 
that night, by thousands suggested truths 
so inconsistent and so shocking, that the 
Market of the Capital of the World seemed a 
ghastly and blasphemous Nightmare. 

" Does this happen every Monday morning ?" 
asked the horror-stricken denizen of Long 
Hornets, of a respectable-looking man. 

"This?" repeated the stranger. "Bless 
you ! This is nothing to what it is some- 
times." He then turned to a passing drover, 
who was vainly trying to get some fifty sheep 
thi'ough a pen-alley calculated for the easy 
passage of twenty. " How many are spoke for 
to-night, Ned ?" 

" How many 1 Why five-and-twenty-thou- 
sand sheep, and forty-one-hundred beasts." 

" Ah ! no more than an ordinary market, 
Sir," said Mr. Bovington's new friend ; " yet 
you see and hear what 's now going on to 
wedge these numbers in. And it stands to 
reason, if you 've got to jam together a fourth 
more animals than there is space for, there 
must be cruelty." 

" How much legitimate accommodation is 
there 1 " asked Mr. Bovington. 

" There are pens for. two-and-twenty-thou- 
saud sheep and they can tie up twenty-seven- 
hundred beasts. Well ! you hear ; room has 
already been 'spoke for,' or bespoken, for 
three-thousand more sheep and fourteen-hun- 
dred more cattle than there is proper space 
for." 

"What becomes of the surplus 1 " 

" The beasts are formed, in the thorough- 
fares and in the outskirts of the market, into 
what we call ' off droves ; ' and the sheep wait 
outside, anywhere, till they can get in." 

Here the conversation was interrupted by 
a sudden increase in the demoniacal noises. 
Opposite the speakers, was a row of panting 
oxen, each fastened by a slip-noose to a rail, 
as closely as their heads could be jammed 
together. Some more were being tied up, and 
one creature had just escaped. Instantly a 
dozen hoarse voices yelled : 

" Out ! out ! out ! " 

The cry was echoed by a dozen others. 

" Out ! out ! out ! " 

A wild hunt followed, and then a shower 
of blows on the back, horns and sides, of the 
luckless truant. The concentrated punish- 
ment of two dozen drovers' sticks made the bull 
too glad to resume its original station. It 
was then tied up, so tightly, that the swelled 
tongue protruded. That the poor brute 
should be rendered powerless for motion for 
some time to come, it was ' hocked ; ' 
that is to say, tremendous blows were in- 
flicted on its hind legs till it was completely 
hobbled. 

Mr. Bovington was glad it was not one of 



his bullocks. " Are many strangled by these 
tight nooses ? " he asked. 

" A good many in the course of the year, 1 
should say. All the rails are full now, and the 
off-droves are beginning." 

The battle raged faster and more furious 
than ever. In order to make the most of the 
room, they were forming 'ring-droves ;' that 
is, j 'unishing the animals till a certain number 
had turned all their heads together so as to 
form the inside of a circle which at last 
they did, to avoid the blows inflicted on 
them. Mr. Bovington's blood ran cold as he 
witnessed the cruelty necessary for this evo- 
lution. After every imaginable torment had 
been practised, to get them into the right posi- 
tion, a stray head would occasionally pro- 
trude where a tail should be on the outside 
of the ring. Tremendous blows were then 
repeated on the nose, neck, and horns, till the 
tortured animal could turn ; and when he 
succeeded, the goad was ' jobbed ' into his 
flanks till he could wedge himself in, so as to 
form his own proper radius of the dense 
circle. 

" I have often seen their haunches streaming 
with blood," said Mr. Bovington's companion, 
" before they could get into the ring. Why, 
a friend of mine, a tanner at Kenilworth, was 
actually obliged to leave off buying hides that 
came out of this market, because they were 
covered with holes that had been bored in the 
live animals by the Smithfield drovers. He 
called these skins Smithfield Cullanders." 

" Cruel wretches ! " 

" Well," said the stranger, thoughtfully, " I 
can't blame them, I have known them forty 
years " 

" You are a salesman 1 " 

"Iwas; but they worried me out of the 
market, for trying to get it removed, and for 
giving evidence against it before Parliament." 

Mr. Brumpton (that was the name of the 
ousted salesman) did a little fattening, now, on 
a few acres near London ; and came occasion- 
ally to Smithfield to buy and sell in a small 
way, just, in fact, as Mr. Bovington had begun 
to do. 

" Well," he continued, " I can't lay all the 
blame on the drovers. What can they do 1 
If they have got one hundred beasts to wedge 
into a space only big enough for seventy, they 
must be cruel. Eyen the labour their cruelty 
costs themselves is terrible. I have often seen 
drovers' men lying on the steps of doors, quite 
exhausted. None of them ever live long." 

" How many are there i " 

" About nine-hundred-and-fifty licensed." 

A deafening hullabaloo arose again. A 
new ring-drove was being begun, close by. 
Bovington threw up his hands in horror, 
when he saw that some of his cherished cattle 
were to become members of it. The lively 
West Highlander was struggling fiercely 
against his fate ; but in vain : he was goaded, 
beaten, and worried with dogs, till forced into 
the ring:. 



124 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



Bovington hastened to the appointed corner, 
to expostulate with Mr. Whelter. 

" How can / help it ! " was that indivi- 
dual's consolation. " I spoke for all your 
beasts ; but there was only room for seven 
on 'em to be tied up ; so the rest on 'em is 
in off-droves. Where else can they be 1 " 

" And my sheep ? " 

" Couldn't get none on 'em in. They 're a 
waiting in the 'Earn' Yard, till the sales empties 
some of the pens. You '11 find 'em in the first 
floor." 

"What! Upstairs?" 

"All, in the one-pair back." 

Mr. Bovington elbowed his way to the 
Ram Inn, to confirm by his eyes what he 
could not believe with his ears. Sure enough 
he found his favourite 'New Leicesters' a 
whole flight of stairs above ground. How 
they had ever been got up, or how they 
were ever to be got down, surpassed his in- 
genuity to conjecture. 

At length there was pen-room ; and sorely 
were Mr. Bovington's feelings tried. When 
his little flock were got into the market, they 
met, and were mixed with, the sold flocks 
that were going out. Confusion was now 
worse confounded. The beating, the goading, 
the bustling, the shouting; the bleating of the 
sheep ; the short, sharp, snarling of the dogs ; 
above all, the stentorian oaths and impreca- 
tions of the drovers, no human imagination, 
unaided by the reality, could conceive. Several 
flocks were intermixed, in a manner that made 
correct separation seem impossible ; but while 
Mr. Bovington shuddered at all this cruelty 
and wickedness SOLELY PRODUCED BY WANT 

OF SPACE, AND BY THE PREVIOUS DRIVING 
THROUGH THE STREETS he Could not help 

admiring the instinct of the dogs, and the in- 
genuity of the men, in lessening the confusion 
the former watching intently their masters' 
faces for orders, and flying over the backs of 
the moving floor of wool, to execute them. 

" Go for 'em, Bob ! " 

Like lightning the dog belonging to the 
drover of Bovington's sheep, dashed over their 
backs, and he beheld the ear of a favourite 
wether between its teeth. By some magic, 
however, this significant style of ear-wigging 
directed the sheep into the alley that led 
to the empty pens ; and the others were 
pushed, punched, goaded, and thrashed, till 
each score was jammed into the small en- 
closures, as tight as figs in a drum. 

" They seem a nice lot," said Mr. Brumptou, 
who had followed the new seller ; " but how 
is it possible for the best butcher in London 
to tell what they are, in a wedge like this. 
Can he know how they will cut up, after the 
punishment they have had ? Impossible : 
and what 's the consequence ? Why, he will 
deduct ten or fifteen per cent, from your 
price for bruised meat. It is the same with 
bullocks." 

Mr. Bovington, at this hint, reverted to his 
herd of cattle with a fresh pang. Crammed, 



rammed, and jammed as they were between 
raw-boned Lincolnshires and half-fed Here- 
fords a narrow bristling grove of gaunt 
shoeing-horns how could his customers see 
and appreciate the fine ' points ' of his fancy 
stock ? He had worked for Fame ; yet, how- 
ever loud her blast, who could hear it above 
the crushing din of Smithfield 1 

Mr. Bovington, having returned to the 
rendezvous, leaned against a cutler's door-post 
where there was an old grindstone outside 
(which the market-people, by much sharpening 
of their knives upon it, had worn away, like an 
old cheese) in profound rumination. He was 
at a dead lock. He could not sell all his stock, 
and he could not withdraw it ; for it was so 
fearfully deteriorated from the treatment it 
had got, that he felt sure the recovery of 
many of his sheep and oxen would be very 
doubtful. The best thing he could wish for 
them was speedy death : and, for himself, sales 
at any price. 

His reflections were interrupted by the 
pleasing information, that although some of 
his beasts that were tied up had been sold at 
the top price, only a few of those in the off- 
droves could find customers at the second, be- 
cause the butchers could not get to see them. 
" And you see they will have the pull of the 
market, if they can get it." 

Mr. Bovington looked unutterable despair, 
and told the salesman emphatically to sell. 

" It don't matter to him," said Brumpton, 
who was again at poor Bovington's elbow, 
" what the animals fetch. Sold for much or 
little, the salesman's profit don't vary 4s. a 
head for beasts, and from 10s. to 13s. a score 
for sheep, at whatever price he sells. That 's 
the system here, and it don't improve the 
profits of the grazier. Why should he care 
what you get, or lose ? " 

Towards the close of the market, Mr. 
Bovington perceived, that if it cost the animals 
intense torture to be got into their allotted 
places, it took unmitigated brutality to get 
them out again. The breaking up of a _ring- 
drove might have made a treat for Jtfero ; 
but honest Mr. Bovington had had enough. 
He retired from the arena of innumerablu 
bull-fights in a state of mind in which disgust 




don't think we are so much better than those 
people in Spain after all, while we stand this 
sort of thing, and eat our dinners, and make 
our wills." 

Mr. Brumpton and he determined to break- 
fast together, at the 'Catherine Wheel,' in 
St. John Street. 

"What remedy do you propose for these 
horrors 1 " asked our dejected friend. 

"A market in the suburbs," was the answer. 

"But look at the rapidity with which 
London spreads. How long will you guaran- 
tee that any site you may select will remain 
'out of Town?'" 



Charles Dickens.] 



THE MINEE'S DAUGHTERS. 



125 



" Ah, that 's the difficulty," said Brumpton. 
"Iii 1808, it was proposed to remove the 
market to the ' open fields ' Clerkenwell- 
fields ; but, twenty years afterwards, there 
was not a blade of grass to be seen near the 
place. It was covered with bricks and 
mortar. Eahere-street in the midst of a 
dense neighbourhood now stands on the very 
spot that was suggested. Again, only last 
year a field between Camden-town and Hol- 
loway was proposed ; but since then, houses 
have been built up to the very hedge that 
incloses it." 

" Islington market seems not to answer." 

" No ; / think it lies too low. They can't 
drain it properly." 

" What is to be done, then ? " 

" I '11 tell you what I think would be best. 
Let a good site be fixed upon ; and don't rest 
contented with that. Fence off, also, a certain 
space around it with appropriate approaches. 
Let these be kept sacred from innovating 
bricks. Deal with a new cattle-market as the 
Board of Health proposes to deal with ceme- 
teries. Isolate it. Allow of no buildings, 
except for market purposes of no encroach- 
ments whatever either upon the area itself 
or its new approaches." 

Mr. Bovington was about to hazard a 
remark about abattoirs, when deafening cries 
again arose in the street. 

" Mad bull ! mad bull ! mad bull ! " re- 
sounded from Smithfield-bars. 

" Mad bull ! mad bull ! " was echoed from 
the uttermost ends of St. John Street. 

Bovington looked out of window. A fine 
black ox was tearing furiously along the 
pavement. Women were screaming and 
rushing into shops, children scrambling out 
of the road, men hiding themselves in door- 
ways, boys in ecstacies of rapture, drovers as 
mad as the bull tearing after him, sheep getting 
under the wheels of hackney-coaches, dogs 
half choking themselves with worrying the 
wool off their backs, pigs obstinately connecting 
themselves with a hearse and funeral, other 
oxen looking into public-houses everybody 
and everything disorganised, no sort of animal 
able to go where it wanted or was wanted ; 
nothing in its right place ; everything wrong 
everywhere ; all the town in a brain fever 
because of this infernal market ! 

The mad bull was Mr. Bovington's West 
Highlander. He was quite prepared for it. 
When he saw him going round the corner, 
and at the same moment beheld a nursemaid, 
a baby, and a baked potato-can, fly into the air 
in opposite directions, he was horrified, but not 
surprised. He followed his West Highlander. 
He followed the crowd tearing after his West 
Highlander, down St. John Street, through 
Jerusalem-passage, along Clerkenwell Green, 
up a hill, and down an alley. He passed two 
disabled apple-women, a fractured shop-front, 
an old man being put into a cab and taken to 
the hospital. At last, he traced the favourite of 
his herds into a back parlour in Liquorpond 



Street, into which he had violently intruded 
through a tripe-shop, and where he was being 
slaughtered for his own peace and for the 
safety of the neighbourhood ; but not at all to 
the satisfaction of an invalid who had leaped 
out of a turn-up bedstead, into the little yard 
behind. The carcass of the West Highlander 
was sold to a butcher for a sum which paid 
about half of what was demanded, from its 
owner, for compensation to the different vic- 
tims of its fury. 

Mr. Bovington returned to Long Hornets 
a 'wiser,' though certainly not commercially 
speaking a 'better' man. His adventures 
in Smithfield had made a large hole in a 
501. note. 

Some of his oxen were returned unsold. 
Two came back with the ' foot disease,' and 
the rest did not recover their value for six 
months. 

Mr. Bovington has never tried Smithfield 
again. He regards it as a place accursed. 
In distant Reigns, he says, it was an odious 
spot, associated with cruelty, fanaticism, wick- 
edness and torture ; and in these later days 
it is worthy of its ancient reputation. It is 
a doomed, but a proper and consistent strong- 
hold (according to Mr. Bovington) of prejudice, 
ignorance, cupidity, and stupidity : 

On some fond breast its parting soul relies, 
Some pious alderman its fame admires ; 
Ev'n from its tomb, the voice of Suff'ring cries, 
Ev'n in its ashes live its wonted Fires ! 



THE MINER'S DAUGHTERS. A TALE 
OF THE PEAK. 

IN THREE CHAPTERS. 



CHAP. I. THE CHILD S TRAGEDY. 

THERE is no really beautiful part of this 
kingdom so little known as the Peak of 
Derbyshire. Matlock, with its tea-garden 
trumpery and mock-heroic wonders ; Buxton, 
with its bleak hills and fashionable bathers ; 
the truly noble Chatsworth and the venerable 
Haddon, engross almost all that the public 
generally have seen of the Peak. It is talked 
of as a land of mountains, which in reality are 
only hills ; but its true beauty lies in valleys 
that have been created by the rending of the 
earth in some primeval convulsion, and which 
present a thousand charms to the eyes of the 
lover of nature. How deliciously do the 
crystal waters of the Wye and the Dove rush 
along such valleys, or dales, as they there are 
called. With what a wild variety do the 
grey rocks soar up amid their woods and 
copses. How airily stand in the clear 
heavens the lofty limestone precipices, and 
the grey edges of rock gleam out from the 
bare green downs there never called downs. 
What a genuine Saxon air is there cast over 
the population, what a Saxon bluntness 
salutes you in their speech ! 

It is into the heart of this region that we 
propose now to carry the reader. Let him 



126 



HOUSEHOLD WOKDS. 



[Conducted by 



suppose himself with us now on the ro.;d 
from Ashford-in-the-water to Tideswell. 
We are at the Bull's Head, a little inn on 
that road. There is nothing to create wonder, 
or a suspicion of a hidden Arcadia in anything 
you see, but another step forward, and there ! 
There sinks a world of valleys at your feat. 
To your left lies the delicious Monsal Dale. 
Old Finn Hill lifts his prey head grandly 
over it. Hobthrush's Castle stands bravely 
forth in the hollow of his side grey, and 
desolate, and mysterious. The sweet Wye 
goes winding and sounding at his feet, amid 
its narrow green meadows, green as the 
emerald, and its dark glossy alders. Before 
us stretches on, equally beautiful, Cressbrook 
Dale ; Little Edale shows its cottages from 
amidst its trees ; and as we advance, the 
Mousselin-de-laine Mills stretch across the 
mouth of Miller's Dale, and startle with 
the aspect of so much life amid so much 
solitude. 

But our way is still onward. We resist 
the attraction of Cressbrook village on its lofty 
eminence, and plunge to the right, into 
Wardlow Dale. Here we are buried deep in 
woods, and yet behold still deeper the valley 
descend below us. There is an Alpine feeling 
upon us. We are carried once more, as in a 
dream, into the Saxon Switzerland. Above 
us stretch the boldest ranges of lofty pre- 
cipices, and deep amid the woods are heard 
the voices of children. These come from a 
few workmens' houses, couched at the foot of 
a cliff that rises high and bright amid the 
sun. That is Wardlow Cop ; and there we 
mean to halt for a moment. Forwards lies a 
wild region of hills, and valleys, and lead- 
mines, but forward goes no road, except such 
as you can make yourself through the tangled 
woods. 

At the foot of Wardlow Cop, before this 
little hamlet of Bellamy Wick was built, or 
the glen was dignified with the name of Baven 
Dale, there lived a miner who had no term 
for his place of abode. He lived, he said, 
under Wardlow-Cop, and that contented him. 

His house was one of those little, solid, 
grey limestone cottages, with grey flagstone 
roofs, which abound in the Peak. It had 
stood under that lofty precipice when the 
woods which now so densely fill the valley 
were but newly planted. There had been a 
mine near it, which had no doubt been the 
occasion of its erection in so solitary a place ; 
but that mine was now worked out, and 
David Dunster, the miner, now worked at a 
mine right over the hills in Miller's Dale. 
He was seldom at home, except at night, and 
on Sundays. His wife, besides keeping her 
little house, and digging and weeding in the 
strip of garden that lay on the steep slope 
above the house, hemmed in with a stone 
wall, also seamed stockings for a framework- 
knitter in Ashford, whither she went once or 
twice in the week. 

They had three children, a boy and two 



girls. The boy was about eight years of age ; 
the girls were about five and six. These 
children were taught their lessons of spelling 
and reading by the mother, amongst her 
other multifarious tasks ; for she was one of 
those who are called regular plodders. She 
was quiet, patient, and always doing, though 
never in a bustle. She was not one of those 
who acquire a character for vast industry by 
doing everything in a mighty flurry, though 
they contrive to find time for a tolerable deal 
of gossip under the plea of resting a bit, and 
which ' resting a bit ' they always terminate 
by an exclamation that 'they must be off", 
though, for they have a world of work to do.' 
Betty Dunster, on the contrary, was looked on 
as rather 'a slow coach.' If you remarked 
that she was a hard-working woman, the 
reply was, ' Well, she 's always doing Betty's 
work 's never done ; but then she does na 
hurry hersen.' The fact was, Betty was a 
thin, spare woman, of no very strong con- 
stitution, but of an untiring spirit. Her 
pleasure and rest were, when David came 
home at night, to have his supper ready, and 
to sit down opposite to him at the little round 
table, and help him, giving a bit now and 
ther to the children, that came and stood 
round, though they had had their suppers, 
and were ready for bed as soon as they had 
seen something of their ' dad.' 

David Dunster was one of those remarkably 
tall fellows that you see about these hills, who 
seem of all things the very worst made men 
to creep into the little mole holes on the hill 
sides that they call lead-mines. But David 
did manage to burrow under and through the 
hard limestone rocks as well as any of them. 
He was a hard-working man, though he liked 
a sup of beer, as most Derbyshire men do, 
and sometimes came home none of the so- 
berest. He was naturally of a very hasty 
temper, and would fly into great rages ; and 
if he were put out by anything in the working 
of the mines, or the conduct of his fellow- 
workmen, he would stay away from home for 
days, drinking at Tideswell, or the Bull's 
Head at the top of Monsal Dale, or down at 
the Miners' Arms at Ashford-in-the-water. 

Betty Dunster bore all this patiently. She 
looked on these things somewhat as matters 
of course. At that time, and even now, how 
few miners do not drink and ' rol a bit,' as 
they call it. She was, therefore, tolerant, and 
let the storms blow over, ready always to per- 
suade her husband to go home and sleep off 
his drink and anger, but if he were too violent, 
leaving him till another attempt might succeed 
better. She was very fond of her children, 
and not only taught them on week days their 
lessons, and to help her to seam, but also took 
them to the Methodist Chapel in ' Tidser,' as 
they called Tideswell, whither, whenever she 
could, she enticed David. David, too, in his 
way, was fond of the children, especially of 
the boy, who was called David after him. He 
was quite wrapped up in the lad, to use the 



Chsrlos Dickens.] 



THE MINER'S DAUGHTERS. 



127 



phrase of the people in that part ; in fact, lie 
was foolishly and mischievously fond of him. 
He would give him beer to drink, ' to make a 
true Briton on him,' as he said, spite of Betty's 
earnest endeavour to prevent it, telling him 
that he was laying the foundation in the lad 
of the same faults that he had himself. But 
David Dunster did not look on drinking as a 
fault at all. It was what he had been used to 
all his life. It was what all the miners had 
been used to for generations. A man was 
looked on as a milk-sop and a Molly Coddle, 
that would not take his mug of ale, and be 
merry with his comrades. It required the 
light of education, and the efforts that have 
been made by the Temperance Societies, to 
break in on this ancient custom of drinking, 
which, no doubt, has flourished in these hills 
since the Danes and other Scandinavians, bored 
and perforated them of old for the ores of lead 
and copper. To Betty Dunster's remon- 
strances, and commendations of tea, David 
would reply, ' Botheration Betty, wench ! 
Dunna tell me about thy tea and such-like 
pig's- wesh. It 's all very well for women ; but 
a man, Betty, a man mun ha' a sup of real 
stingo, lass. He mun ha' summut to prop his 
ribs out, lass, as he delves through th' chert 
and tood-stone. When tha weylds th' maundrel 
(the pick), and I wesh th' dishes, tha shall ha' 
th' drink, my wench, and I '11 ha' th' tea. 
Till then, prithee' let me aloon, and dunna 
bother me, for it 's no use. It only kicks my 
monkey up.' 

And Betty found that it was of no use ; 
that it did only kick his monkey up, and so 
she let him alone, except when she could drop 
in a persuasive word or two. The mill-owners 
at Cressbrook and Miller's Dale had forbidden 
any public-house nearer than Edale, and they 
had more than once called the people together 
to point out to them the mischiefs of drinking, 
and the advantages to be derived from the 
very savings of temperance. But all these 
measures, though they had some effect on the 
mill people, had very little on the miners. They 
either sent to Tideswell or Edale for kegs of 
beer to peddle at the mines, or they went 
thither themselves on receiving their wages. 

And let no one suppose that David Dunster 
was worse than his fellows ; or that Betty 
Dunster thought her case a particularly hard 
one. David was ' pretty much of a muchness,' 
according to the country phrase, with the rest 
of his hard-working tribe, which was, and 
always had been, a hard-drinking tribe ; and 
Betty, though she wished it different, did not 
complain, just because it was of no use, and 
because she was no worse off than her neigh- 
bours. 

Often when she went to ' carry in her hose ' 
to Ashford, she left the children at home by 
themselves. She had no alternative. They 
were there in that solitary valley for many 
hours playing alone. And to them it was not 
solitary. It was ail that they knew of life, 
and that aJl was very pleasant to them. In 



spring, they hunted for birds'-nests in the 
copses, and amongst the rocks and grey stones 
that had fallen from them. In the copses built 
the blackbirds and thrushes : in the rocks the 
firetails ; and the grey wagtails in the stones, 
which were so exactly of their own colour, as 
to make it difficult to see them. In summer, 
they gathered flowers and berries, and in the 
winter they played at horses, kings, and shops, 
and sundry other things in the house. 

On one of these occasions, a bright afternoon 
in autumn, the three children had rambled 
down the glen, and found a world of amuse- 
ment in be^ng teams of horses, in making a 
little mine at the foot of a tall cliff, and in 
marching for soldiers, for they had one day 
the only time in their lives seen some soldiers 
go through the village of Ashford, when they 
had gone there with their mother, for she 
now and then took them with her when she 
had something from the shop to carry besides 
her bundle of hose. At length they came to 
the foot of an open hill which swelled to a 
considerable height, with a round and climb- 
able side, on which grew a wilderness of 
bushes amid which lay scattered masses of 
grey crag. A small winding path went up 
this, and they followed it. It was not long, 
however, before they saw some things which 
excited their eager attention. Little David, 
who was the guide, and assumed to himself 
much importance as the protector of his sisters, 
exclaimed, ' See here ! ' and springing forward, 
plucked a fine crimson cluster of the moun- 
tain bramble. His sisters, on seeing this, 
rushed on with like eagerness. They soon 
forsook the little winding and craggy foot- 
path, and hurried through sinking masses of 
moss and dry grass, from bush to bush and 
place to place. They were soon far up above 
the valley, and almost every- step revealed to 
them some delightful prize. The clusters of 
the mountain-bramble, resembling mulberries, 
and known only to the inhabitants of the hills, 
were abundant, and were rapidly devoured. 
The dewberry was as eagerly gathered, its 
large, purple fruit passing with them for 
blackberries. In their hands were soon seen 
posies of the lovely grass of Parnassus, the 
mountain cistus, and the bright blue gera- 
nium. 

Higher and higher the little group as- 
cended in this quest, till the sight of the 
wide, naked hills, and the hawks circling 
round the lofty, tower-like crags over their 
heads, made them feel serious and somewhat 
afraid. 

' Where are we ? ' asked Jane, the elder 
sister. ' Arn't we a long way from horn 1 ' 

' Let us go horn,' said little Nancy. ' I 'm 
afeerd here ; ' clutching hold of Jane's frock. 

'Pho, nonsense!' said David, 'what are 
you afreed on 1 I '11 tak care on you, niver 
fear,' 

And with this he assumed a bold and 
defying aspect, and said, ' Come along ; there 
are nests in th' hazzles up yonder.' 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



He began to mount again, but the two 
.nirls hung back and said, ' Nay, David, 
(liiiiua go higher ; we are both afreed ; ' and 
.lane added, ' It 's a long wee from horn, I 'in 
sure.' 

' And those birds screecheu' so up there ; I 
darna go up,' added little Nancy. They 
were the hawks that she meant, which hovered 
whimpering and screaming about the highest 
cliffs. David called them little cowards, but 
began to descend and, presently, seeking for 
berries and flowers as they descended, they 
regained the little winding, craggy road, and, 
while they were calling to each other, dis- 
covered a remarkable echo on the opposite 
hill side. On this, they shouted to it, and 
laughed, and were half frightened when it 
laughed and shouted again. Little Nancy 
said it must be an old man in the inside 
of the mountain ; at which they were all 
really afraid, though David put on a big 
look, and said, 'Nonsense ! it was nothing 
at all.' But Jane asked how nothing at 
all could shout and laugh as it did ? and 
on this little Nancy plucked her again by 
the frock, and said in turn, ' Oh, dear, let 's 
go horn ! ' 

But at this David gave a wild whoop to 
frighten them, and when the hill whooped 
again, and the sisters began to run, he burst 
into laughter, and the strange spectral Ha ! 
ha ! ha ! that ran along the inside of the hill 
as it were, completed their fear, and they 
stopped their ears with their hands and 
scuttled away down the hill. But now 
David seized them, and pulling their hands 
down from their heads, he said, ' See here ! 
what a nice place with the stones sticking 
out like seats. Why, it 's like a little house ; 
let us stay and play a bit here.' It was a 
little hollow in the hill side surrounded by 
projecting stones like an amphitheatre. The 
sisters were still afraid, but the sight of this 
little hollow with its seats of crag had such a 
charm for them that they promised David 
they would stop awhile, if he would promise 
not to shout and awake the echo. David 
readily promised this, and so they sat down ; 
'David proposed to keep a school, and cut a 
hazel wand from a bush and began to lord it 
over his two scholars in a very pompous 
manner. The two sisters pretended to be 
much afraid, and to read very diligently on 
pieces of flat stone which they had picked up. 
And then David became a serjeant and was 
drilling them for soldiers, and stuck pieces 
of fern into their hair for cockades. And 
then, soon after, they were sheep, and he was 
the shepherd ; and he was catching his 
flock and going to shear them, and made 
so much noise that Jane cried, ' Hold ! 
there 's the echo mocking us.' 

At this they all were still. But David 
said, ' Pho ! never mind the echo ; I must 
shear my sheep : ' but just as he was seizing 
little Nancy to pretend to shear her with 
a piece of stick, Jane cried out, ' Look ! look ! 



how black it is coming down the valley there ! 
There 's going to be a dreadful starm ; let us 
hurry horn ! ' 

David and Nancy both looked up, and 
agreed to run as fast down the hill as they 
could. But the next moment the driving 
storm swept over the hill, and the whole 
valley was hid in it. The three children 
still hurried on, but it became quite dark, 
and they soon lost the track, and were tossed 
about by the wind, so that they had difficulty 
to keep on their legs. Little Nancy began to 
ciy, and the three taking hold of each other 
endeavoured in silence to make their way 
homewards. Bnt presently they all stumbled 
over a large stone, and fell some distance 
down the hill. They were not hurt, but 
much frightened, for they now remem- 
bered the precipices, and were afraid every 
minute of going over them. They now strove 
to find the track by going up again, but they 
could not find it anywhere. Sometimes they 
went upwards till they thought they were 
quite too far, and then they went downwards 
till they were completely bewildered ; and 
then, like the Babes in the Wood, ' They sate 
them down and cried.' 

But ere they had sate long, they heard 
footsteps, and listened. They certainly 
heard them and shouted, but there was 
no answer. David shouted, ' Help ! fayther ! 
mother ! help ! ' but there was no answer. 
The wind swept fiercely by ; the hawks 
whimpered from the high crags, lost in the 
darkness of the storm ; and the rain fell, 
driving along icy cold. Presently, there was 
a gleam of light through the clouds ; the 
hill-side became visible, and through the haze 
they saw a tall figure as of an old man 
ascending the hill. He appeared to carry two 
loads slung from his shoulders by a strap ; 
a box hanging before, and a bag hanging 
at his back. He wound up the hill slowly 
and wearily, and presently he stopped and 
relieving himself of his load, seated himself 
on a piece of crag to rest. Again David 
shouted, but there still was no answer. The 
old man sate as if no shout had been heard 
immoveable. 

' It is a man,' said David, ' and I will mak 
him hear ; ' and with that he shouted once 
more with all his might. But the old man 
made no sign of recognition. He did not 
even turn his head, but he took off his hat 
and began to wipe his brow as if warm witli 
the ascent. 

' What can it be ? ' said David in astonish- 
ment. 'It is a man, that 's sartain. I '11 run 
and see.' 

' Nay, nay ! ' shrieked the sisters. ' Don't, 
David ! don't ! It 's perhaps the old man 
out of the mountain that 's been mocking us. 
Perhaps,' added Jane, 'he only comes out in 
starrns and darkness.' 

' Stuff! ' said David, 'an echo isn't a man ; 
it 's only our own voices. I '11 see who it is ; 
and away he darted, spite of the poor girl's 



Charles Dickent.l 



THE MINEE'S DAUGHTERS. 



129 



crying in terror, < Don't ; don't, David ! Oh, 
don't.' 

But David was gone. He was not long in 
reaching the old man, who sate on his stone 
breathing hard, as if out of breath with his 
ascent, but not appearing to perceive David's 
approach. The rain and the wind drove 
fiercely upon him, but he did not seem to 
mind it. David was half afraid to approach 
close to him. but he called out, ' Help ; help, 
mester ! ' The old man remained as uncon- 
scious of his presence. ' Hillo ! ' cried David 
again. ' Can you tell us the way down, 
mester 1 ' There was no answer, and David 
was beginning to feel a shudder of terror run 
through every limb, when the clouds cleared 
considerably, and he suddenly exclaimed, 
' Why, it 's old Tobias Turton of top of Edale, 
and he 's as deaf as a door nail ! ' 

In an instant, David was at his side ; seized 
his coat to make him aware of his presence, 
and, on the old man perceiving him, shouted 
in his ear, 'Which is the way down here, 
Mester Turton J Where 's the track 1 ' 

' Down 1 Weighs o' the back ? ' said the old 
man ; ' ay, my lad, I was fain to sit down ; it 
does weigh o' th' back, sure enough.' 

' Where 's the foot-track 1 ' shouted David, 
again. 

' Th' foot-track ? Why, what art ta doing 
here, my lad, in such a starm ? Is 'nt it 
David Dunster's lad 1 ' 

David nodded. ' Why, the track 's here ! 
see ; ' and the old man stamped his foot. 
' Get down horn, my lad, as fast as thou can. 
What dun they do letting thee be upon th' 
hills in such a dee as this 'I ' 

David nodded his thanks, and turned to 
descend the track, while the old man adjusting 
his burden again, silently and wearily recom- 
menced his way upwards. 

David shouted to his sisters as he descended, 
and they quickly replied. He called to them 
to come towards him, as he was on the track, 
and was afraid to quit it again. They endea- 
voured to do this ; but the darkness was now 
redoubled, and the wind and rain became more 
furious than ever. The two sisters were soon 
bewildered amongst the bushes , and David, 
who kept calling to them at intervals to 
direct their course towards him, soon heard 
them crying bitterly. At this, he forgot the 
necessity of keeping the track, and darting 
towards them, soon found them by continuing 
to call to them, and took their hands to lead 
them to the ti'ack. But they were now 
drenched through with the rain, and shivered 
with cold and fear. David, with a stout 
heart endeavoured to cheer them. He told 
them the track was close by, and that they 
would soon be at home. But though the 
track was not ten yards off, somehow they 
did not find it. Bushes and projecting rocks 
turned them out of their course ; and owing 
to the confusion caused by the wind, the 
darkness, and their terror, they searched in 
vain for the track. Sometimes they thought 



they had found it, and went on a few paces, 
only to stumble over loose stones, or get 
entangled in the bushes. 

It was now absolutely becoming night. 
Their terrors increased greatly. They shouted 
and cried aloud, in the hope of making their 
parents hear them. They felt sure that both 
father and mother must be come home ; and 
as sure that they would be hunting for them. 
But they did not reflect that their parents 
could not tell in what direction they had 
gone. Both father and mother were come 
home, and the mother had instantly rushed 
out to try to find them, on perceiving that 
they were not in the house. She had hurried 
to and fro, and called not at first supposing 
they would be far. But when she heard 
nothing of them, she ran in, and begged of 
her husband to join in the search. But at 
first David Dunster would do nothing. He 
was angry at them for going away from the 
house, and said he was too tired to go on a 
wild-goose chase through the plantations 
after them. 'They are i' th' plantations,' 
said he ; ' they are sheltering there some- 
where. Let them alone, and they'll come 
home, with a good long tail behind them.' 

AVith this piece of a child's song of sheep, 
David sat down to his supper, and Betty 
Dunster hurried up the valley, shouting 
' Children, where are you ? David ! Jane ! 
Nancy ! where are you V 

When she heard nothing of them, she hur- 
ried still more wildly up the hill towards the 
village. When she arrived there the dis- 
tance of a mile she inquired from house to 
house, but no one had seen anything of them. 
It was clear they had not been in that direc- 
tion. An alarm was thus created in the 
village ; and several young men set out to 
join Mrs. Dunster in the quest. They again 
descended the valley towards Dunster's house, 
shouting every now and then, and listening. 
The night was pitch dark, and the rain fell 
heavily ; but the wind had considerably 
abated, and once they thought they heard a 
faint cry in answer to their call, far down the 
valley. They were right ; the children had 
heard the shouting, and had replied to it. 
But they were far ofi. The young men 
shouted again, but there was no answer ; and 
after shouting once more without success, 
they hastened on. When they reached David 
Dunster's house, they found the door open, 
and no one within. They knew that David 
had set off in quest of the children himself, 
and they determined to descend the valley. 
The distracted mother went with them, cry- 
ing silently to herself, and praying inwardly, 
and every now and then trying to shout. 
But the young men raised their strong voices 
above hers, and made the cliffs echo with 
their appeals. 

Anon a voice answered them down the 
valley. They ran on as well as the darknes? 
would let them, and soon found that it was 
David Dunster, who had been in the plauta- 



130 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



(.Conducted by 



tions on the other side of the valley ; but 
hearing nothing of the lost children, now 
joined them. He said he had heard the cry 
from the hill-side farther down, that answered 
to their shouts ; and he was sure that it was 
his boy David's voice. But he had shouted 
again, and there had been no answer but a 
wild scream as of terror, that made his blood 
run cold. 

' O God ! ' exclaimed the distracted mother, 
' what can it be ? David ! David ! Jane ! 
Nancy ! ' 

There was no answer. The young men bade 
Betty Dunster to contain herself, and they 
would find the children before they went 
home again. All held on down the valley, 
and in the direction whence the voice came. 
Many times did the young men and the now 
strongly agitated father shout and listen. At 
length they seemed to hear voices of weeping 
and moaning. They listened they were sure 
they heard a lamenting it could only be the 
children. But why then did they not answer ? 
On struggled the men, and Mrs. Dunster 
followed wildly after. Now, again, they stood 
and shouted, and a kind of terrified scream 
followed the shout. 

' God in heaven ! ' exclaimed the mother ; 
' what is it ? There is something dreadful. 
My children ! my children ! where are you 1 ' 

' Be silent, pray do, Mrs. Dunster,' said one 
of the young men, ' or we cannot catch the 
sounds so as to follow them.' They again 
listened, and the wailings of the children 
were plainly heard. The whole party pushed 
forward over stock and stone up the hill. 
They called again, and there was a cry of 
' Here ! here ! fayther ! mother ! where are 
you?' 

In a few moments more the whole party 
had reached the children, who stood drenched 
with rain, and trembling violently, under a 
cliff that gave no shelter, but was exposed 
especially to the wind and rain. 

' O Christ ! My children ! ' cried the mother 
wildly, struggling forwards and clasping one 
in her arms. ' Nancy ! Jane ! But where 
is David ? David ! David ! Oh, where is 
David ? Where is your brother ?' 

The whole party was startled at not seeing 
the boy, and joined in a simultaneous 'Where 
is he ? Where is your brother ?' 

The two children only wept and trembled 
more violently, and burst into loud crying. 

'Silence!' shouted the father. 'Where is 
David, I tell ye ? Is he lost ? David, lad, 
where ar ta ?' 

A1J listened, but there was no answer but 
the renewed crying of the two girls. 

' Where is the lad, then ?' thundered forth 
the father with a terrible oath. 

The two terrified children cried, ' Oh, down 
there ! down there !' 

'Down where ? Oh God !' exclaimed one of 
the young men ; " why it 's a precipice ! 
Down there ? ' 

At this dreadful intelligence the mother 



gave a wild shriek, and fell senseless on the 
ground. The young men caught her, and 
dragged her back from the edge of the pre- 
cipice. The father in the same moment, 
furious at what he heard, seized the younger 
child that happened to be near him, and 
shaking it violently, swore he would fling it 
down after the lad. 

He was angry with the poor children, as if 
they had caused the destruction of his boy. 
The young men seized him, and bade him 
think what he was about ; but the num 
believing his boy had fallen down the preci- 
pice, was like a madman. He kicked at his 
wife as she lay on the ground, as if she were 
guilty of this calamity by leaving the cluldren 
at home. He was furious against the poor 

firls, as if they had led their brother into 
anger. In his violent rage he was a perfect 
maniac, and the young men pushing him 
away, cried shame on him. In a while, the 
desperate man torn by a hurricane of passion, 
sate himself down on a crag, and burst into a 
tempest of tears, and struck his head violently 
with his clenched fists, and cursed himself 
and everybody. It was a dreadful scene. 

Meantime, some of the young men had 
gone down below the precipice on which the 
children had stood, and, feeling amongst the 
loose stones, had found the body of poor little 
David. He was truly dead ! 

When he had heard the shout of his father, 
or of the young men, he had given one loud 
shout in answer, and saying ' Come on ! never 
fear now ! ' sprang forward, and was over the 
precipice in the dark, and flew down and was 
dashed to pieces. His sisters heard a rush, a 
faint shriek, and suddenly stopping, escaped 
the destruction that poor David had found. 



NEW LIFE AND OLD LEAENING. 



THERE is not, in the whole of Bacon's 
writings, a remark more profoundly cha- 
racteristic of the man and his philosophy, 
than is embodied in his epigram that An- 
tiquity is the Youth of the World. If men 
could only have had the courage to act upon 
this truth as soon as it was pointed out, if 
they could but have seen, that, in their mode 
of reckoning antiquity, they made always the 
mistake of beginning the calculations from 
the wrong end, and that, in everything re- 
lating to the progress of knowledge, and the 
advancement of the species, the Present, not 
the Past, should be deemed of superior autho- 
rity, how many miseries society would have 
spared itself, and how much earlier it would 
have profited by the greatest of ite teachers, 
Experience ! 

' For antiquity,' says Lord Bacon, ' the 
opinion which men cherish concerning it is 
altogether negligent, and scarcely congruous 
even to the name. For the old age and 
grandevity of the world are to be truly 
counted as antiquity ; which are properly to 
be ascribed to our times, not to the younger 



Charles Dickens.] 



NEW LIFE AND OLD LEARNING. 



age of the world, such as it was with the 
ancients. Since that age, in respect to us 
indeed, is ancient and greater ; but in respect 
to the world itself, was new and lesser. And 
in reality, as we look for a greater acquaintance 
with human affairs, and a more mature judg- 
ment, from an old than from a young man, on 
account of his experience, and the variety and 
abundance of the things which he has seen, 
and heard, and considered, just so it is fit 
also that much greater things be expected 
from our age (if it knew its strength, and 
would endeavour and apply) than from the 
old times ; as being a more advanced age of 
the world, and enlarged and accumulate with 
numberless experiences and observations.' 

Have these pregnant sentences lost their 
meaning in the two centuries and a half that 
have since rolled away ? Let us take the 
wealthiest and most distinguished seminary 
of learning now existing in England, and 
judge. 

At the commencement of the present century, 
when the Novum Organum had been written 
nearly two hundred years, the examinations 
at the University of Oxford, so far as they 
were scientific at all, and not restricted to 
learned languages, turned entirely on the 
scholastic logic which the Novum Organum 
had shown to be a foul obstruction to know- 
ledge. The new and true logic, as explained 
by Bacon, was never mentioned in the vene- 
rable place ; and the new discoveries of the 
laws of nature to which it had led, formed no 
part of the general course of study, or of the 
subjects of public examination. It was quite 
possible for an Oxford man to have brought 
away a distinguished degree in the sciences, 
without knowing the truths of universal gra- 
vitation, or of the celestial motions, or of the 
planetary forces, or of any one of the provisions 
made by nature for the stability of the system 
we inhabit ; and the very highest Oxford 
degree in the non-scientific departments, did 
not imply, any more than it does even yet, the 
remotest knowledge of modern languages or 
literature, of modern history or philosophy, 
of whether it might not have been Cromwell 
who discovered America, or Columbus who 
fought at Marston Moor. For any interest 
that the students at Oxford University were 
required to take in such matters, the past 
three hundred years might never have ex- 
isted, or have been utterly annihilated, and 
all their wondrous burden of experiences 
melted into air. 

It was not till after the nineteenth century 
had begun, that some sense of what had been 
going on in the world outside crept into the 
cloisters at Oxford. Statutes were then 
passed to recognise the Newtonian improve- 
ments in philosophy, and recommending, 
though not necessitating, their adoption into 
the course for honours. Honours neverthe- 
less continued to be taken without them ; 
and it is notorious that the soil has been 
ungenial to their growth, and that they 



never have flourished in it. Oxford, in effect, 
continued up to this day no other than it 
was four centuries ago. Apart from the 
doubtful discipline of life and manners attain- 
able within its walls, it is still no more than 
a huge theological school, where the lay 
youth of England are admitted to partici- 
pate in such meagre allowance of intellec- 
tual training as the clergy think safe for 
themselves ; where Manchester and Birming- 
ham are ignored ; where the Greek and Latin 
authors continue in the same esteem as when 
they actually contained whatever existed of 
learning left upon the earth, and no education 
could proceed without them ; and from which 
there issue into the world yearly reinforce- 
ments of the upper classes of society, less able 
to cope with the wants and duties that sur- 
round them, and less acquainted with the 
laws and operations by which the present is 
to be guided into the future, than any self- 
taught merchant's clerk at Liverpool, or any 
sharp engineer's lad at the railway in Euston 
Square. 

Now, what has been the answer from 
Oxford when reproaches of this kind have 
been addressed to it ? What was its answer 
when ridiculed, forty years ago, for teaching 
what rational men had been laughing at for 
more than a century ? It amounted to this 
that so intimately had the original statutes 
of the University interwoven the Aristotelian 
methods with the whole course of its studies 
and exercises, and so sacredly were its officers 
bound to see to the enforcement of those 
statutes, that the last stronghold from which 
any such learning could be dislodged was the 
University, to which its mere forms and prac- 
tices unhappily continued to be essential, 
even long after every vestige of reality had va- 
nished out of them. In other words it was con- 
fessed that Oxford had been so constructed as 
a place of study, that the rules and statutes 
which should have been framed for the recep- 
tion of truth, in whatever quarter it misfit 
appear, had turned out to be only available 
for the retention and perpetuation of error ; 
and that Education, whose express province 
everywhere else was to absorb and make 
profit of every new acquisition, was miserably 
bound, on this spot only, to reject them all. 
Precisely the same arguments have very lately 
been repeated. When the great 'whip' of 
the country parsons brought up a majority 
against the Modern History statute twelve 
months ago, this was the plea on which 
bigotry rallied her forces ; and when more 
recently the statute was again proposed, the 
same plea would have secured it the same 
reception, if the old flock of reverend Thwack- 
'ums had not meanwhile tired of the expense 
and trouble of being dragged in a drove from 
their parsonages to the Senate House, to bleat 
forth ignorant non placets. 

As it was, the History statute was passed 
with its notable limitation against the events 
of the last sixty years. The Oxford scholar 



132 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



td by 



may now sail down the stream of modern 
story as long as the water is smooth, or the 
storm seen only in the distance ; but as he 
nears the explosive point of 1789, of which the 
vast and terrible wrecks are still tumbling 
around us, a huge board warns him of 
' danger,' and his frail little cock-boat of 
history is driven forcibly all the way back 
again. Such is the point of advance to which 
the present year of our Lord has brought the 
University of Oxford. Such is the provision 
made at the wealthiest place of education in 
the world, in the middle of the nineteenth cen- 
tury, for that true and subtle understanding of 
modern life and institutions on which the peace- 
ful development of the twentieth century will 
mainly depend ! But Oxford was founded by 
a Church, which, amid all ludicrous surround- 
ing evidences of her failures and her follies, 
still claims to be infallible ; and the worst 
peculiarities of thefounder cleave to thefounda- 
tion. The next fifty years will have to show, 
however, whether an institution shall be al- 
lowed to continue in the annual disposal of 
some half million or more of money for a pur- 
pose she so manifestly mistakes, that even the 
learning she prefers to every other is less 
taught to her scholars for the wisdom to be 
found in it, than for mere constructive skill 
in the language by which that wisdom is con- 
veyed. 

Sydney Smith has remarked it as one of 
the great advantages of the classical education 
in which we are trained in this country, that 
it sets before us so many examples of sublimity 
in action, and of sublimity in thought. ' It is 
impossible for us,' he exclaims, in one of those 
noble lectures on moral philosophy o f which 
the fragments have recently been published, 
' in the first and most ardent years of life, to 
read the great actions of the two greatest 
nations in the world, so beautifully related, 
without catching, ourselves, some taste for 
greatness, and a love for that glory which is 
gained by doing greater and better things 
than other men. And though the state of 
order and discipline into which the world is 
brought, does not enable a man frequently to 
do such things, as every day produced in the 
fierce and eventful democraties of Greece and 
Borne, yet, to love that which is great, is the 
best security for hating that which is little ; 
the best cure for envy ; the safest antidote for 
revenge ; the surest pledge for the abhorrence 
of malice ; the noblest incitement to love 
truth and manly independence and honour- 
able labour, to glory in spotless innocence, 
and build up the system of life upon the rock 
of integrity.' 

But is the opportunity fairly afforded for 
this 1 Is not the attention which ought to 
be fixed upon Things, to secure any part of the 
gain thus eloquently set before us, for the most 
part distracted and occupied by Words, in the 
system which commonly prevails ? Has not the 
labour to be undergone in obtaining the ready 
verbal skill exacted in College examinations, 



a direct tendency to weaken our pleasure in 
the history, philosophy, or poetry on which 
we grind and sharpen that verbal skill ? We 
apprehend that this is really the case ; and 
that the old learning which Oxford persists 
in thinking all-sufficient for the wants of our 
new and busy life, is taught upon a method 
which strips it of its noblest lessons, and 
withers its choicest fruit. 

The question is a most serious one for 
those whom it most immediately concerns, 
and whom it should warn of the danger of 
too manifestly lagging behind the time. At 
this moment power is changing hands, as 
certainly, as in the days of those subtle and 
eager men who seated the ancient learning 
on its throne ; and who would as surely 
depose it now, if founding new universities 
amongst us, and give it but its due and 
proper place in the expanding circles of 
knowledge, as, four hundred years ago, they 
admitted its just predominance, and es- 
tablished its solitary sway. When periods 
of such vicissitude arrive, it is for those who 
have been powerful heretofore, to look to 
their tenures of authority. Upon nothing 
can they hope to rest, if not upon complete 
accordance with the spirit of the age, and e 
thorough aptitude to its necessities and 
wants. If the education of children is to 
continue imperfect and bad, as Dean Swift 
tells us he had found it always in his ex- 
perience, in exact proportion to the wealth 
and grandeur of the parents, the next gene- 
ration of parents will have to look to the 
continued security of their wealth and 
grandeur. The Earth is in incessant motion. 
The time when it was supposed to be per- 
manently fixed in the centre of the universe 
has passed away for ever, and modes of study 
only suited to that time will have to share 
the fate that has befallen it. 



THE EAILWAY STATION. 



THEY judge not well, who deem that once among ua 
A spirit moved that now from earth has fled ; 
Who say that at the busy sounds which throng us, 
Its shining wings for ever more have sped. 

Not all the turmoil of the Age of Iron 

Can scare that Spirit hence ; like some sweet bird 

That loud harsh voices in its cage environ, 

It sings above them all, and will be heard ! 

Not, for the noise of axes or of hammers, 
Will that sweet bird forsake her chosen nest ; 
Her warblings pierce through all those deafening 

clamours 
But surer to their echoes in the breast. 

And not the Past alone, with all its guerdon 
Of twilight sounds and shadows, bids them rise ; 
But soft, above the noontide heat and burden 
Of the stern present, float those melodies. 

Not with the baron bold, the minstrel tender, 
Not with the ringing sound of shield and lance, 
Not with the Field of Gold in all its splendour, 
Died out the generous flame of old Romance. 



Charle Dickens.] 



THE BROWN HAT. 



133 



Still, on a nobler strife than tilt or tourney, 
Rides forth the errant knight, with brow elate ; 
Still patient pilgrims take, in hope, their journey; 
Still meek and cloistered spirits ' stand and wait.' 

Still hath the living, moving, world around us, 
Its legends, fair with honour, bright with truth ; 
Still, as in tales that in our childhood bound us, 
Love holds the fond traditions of its youth. 

We need not linger o'er the fading traces 
Of lost divinities ; or seek to hold 
Their serious converse 'mid Earth's green waste- 
places, 
Or by her lonely fountains, as of old : 

For, far remote from Nature's fair creations, 
Within the busy mart, the crowded street, 
With sudden, sweet, unlooked-for revelations 
Of a bright presence we may chance to meet ; 

E'en now, beside a restless tide's commotion, 
I stand and hear, in broken music swell, 
Above the ebb and flow of Life's great ocean, 
An under-song of greeting and farewell. 

For here are meetings : moments that inherit 
The hopes and wishes, that through months and 

years 

Have held such anxious converse with the spirit, 
That now its joy can only speak in tears ; 

And here are partings: hands that soon must sever, 
Yet clasp the firmer ; heart, that unto heart, 
Was ne'er so closely bound before, nor ever 
So near the other as when now they part ; 

And here Time holds his steady pace unbroken, 
For all that crowds within his narrow scope ; 
For all the language, uttered and unspoken, 
That will return when Memory comforts Hope J 

One short and hurried moment, and for ever 
Flies, like a dream, its sweetness and its pain ; 
And, for the hearts that love, the hands that sever, 
Who knows what meetings are in store again '.' 

They who are left, unto their homes returning, 
With musing step, trace o'er each by-gone scene ; 
And they upon their journey doth no yearning, 
No backward glance, revert to what hath been ? 

Yes ! for awhile, perchance, a tear-drop starting, 
Dims the bright scenes that greet the eye and mind; 
But here as ever in life's cup of parting 
Theirs is the bitterness who stay behind ! 

So in life's sternest, last farewell, may waken 
A yearning thought, a backward glance be thrown 
By them who leave : but oh ! how blest the token, 
To those who stay behind when THEY are gone ! 



THE BKOWN HAT. 



' MY son,' said the wisest of modern men 
whose name, of course, it were malicious to 
mention, and foolish also, the object being to 
promulgate charity, not to excite rancour 
' My son, if you would go through life easily, 
I can give you no better rule of conduct than 
this : Never wear a brown hat in Friesland.'' 

Now, though this piece of counsel may 
sound as hieroglyphical and mysterious as 
the well-known precept by Mr. Malaprop 
administered to his offspring, when the latter 



was about to quit home, 'Evil communication 
is worth two in the bush,' it is nevertheless 
susceptible of the clearest and most explicit 
interpretation. Though the fruits of par- 
ticular and personal experience, it may be 
applied to every man who wears a hat under 
the sun, the moon, the seven stars, or the 
Seven Dials ! let alone the Seven United 
Provinces ! 

The Brown Hat whence this saying sprung, 
was merely a hat of common quality and 
uncommon comfort ; soft to the head, not 
stiff ; a screen for eyes from the sun ; a thing 
taking no place among the traveller's luggage 
claiming no package of its own, and thus 
offering no wrangling-stock to those most 
tiresome of Jacks among all Jacks-in-office 
to wit, Custom-house officers. It was a hat 
which the Hatto of hats must have accredited 
as the very perfection of a quiet, middle-aged 
traveller's vad& mecum ; something dull- 
looking, it is true, for those whose thoughts 
are ' wide-awake ; ' something vulgar, for any 
one troubled by aristocratic fancies as to his 
covering, and who loves not to be confounded 
with his butterman ; but withal a hat to be 
defended by every man of sense, to be clung 
to by every creature capable of headaches ; 
a hat one could be bumped about in during 
a day of sixteen hours, in carriage, cart, or 
third-class railway vehicle ; a hat one could 
lie in bed in for nightcap, or sit upon for 
cushion ; a kindly, comforting, unobtrusive 
hat brown, because it was of the felt's 
natural colour, pliant as a piece of silk, sub- 
missive to wind, impervious to rain. What 
can we say more 1 A castor, as the Pilgrim's 
Pollux put it, ' fit to be buried in.' 

Yet such was the hat, and none other, which 
save your nerves be of granite, your cheeks 
of brass, and your patience the patience of a 
beaver you are hereby solemnly warned not 
to wear in Friesland. In London, when you 
please and where you please, but not inMeppel, 
and not in Zwolle, and not in Sneek, and, 
most of all, not in the market-place at Leen- 
warden. As wisely might you have tried to 
walk down a village -street, in Lancashire, on 
Lifting-Monday (thirty years ago), thinking 
to escape from the obliging maids and jolly 
wives, who lurked behind their doors, bent on 
tossing every passing male in a kitchen chair, 
as have hoped for ten seconds of peace, sup- 
posing that in Friesland (two autumns since) 
you took your, walks abroad wearing a Brown 
Hat! 

It will be, peradventure, imagined by those 
who are not strong in their geography, or who 
have not studied the Book of Dresses, or who 
entertain little curiosity concerning one of the 
most noticeable and original districts in 
Europe, that these touchy Friesland folk 
themselves don or doff nothing worth an 
Englishman turning his head to admire ; carry 
aloft what all the well-bred world carries, 
and therefore cannot afford to let any one 
thrive, save under the shadow of the ' regula- 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[ Conducted by 



tio beaver,' to which all polite Europe sub- 
MHtes. Yet the case happens to be, that if 
i' lie a land in which perpetual wonderment 
could make the traveller wry-necked, that 
laiul is North Holland. Hong-Kong can 
hardly be stranger, either in its composition 
or its maintenance. So Sci herself (in Mr. 
Seal y's capital Chinese tale) did not boast a 
head-tire more ' express and surprising,' than 
the gentlewomen of all ages, through whose 
active decision and passive contempt the 
l;ro\vn Hat had to run the gauntlet. 

Let. us see if we can sketch this though by 
no means catholically sure, that some stratum 
of use or ornament, may not have been over- 
looked in our specification. First, it is con- 
ceived that the hair upon the head of the 
Frieslander, must be cut as close as though 
subject to the pumpkin-shell barbarity of the 
pilgrim-fathers, when their scissors were 
intent on shearing off love-locks. Upon this 
closely cropped poll, comes first a knitted cap 
(Mrs. London, perhaps, can tell whether there 
be an aristocratic or established stitch for- 
mula for its knitting), over that a silk scull 
cap. These tightly put on, the serious busi- 
ness of the head-gear begins. The victim is 
next hooped, bound, lined, circled and other- 
wise clasped up within gilt metal various in 
its cut, provided it only fits close, ' as some 
one said,' for headaches, to throb against. 
The mistress of Keetje, the maid, is fond of 
having her kettle-cap made of gilt silver, some- 
times if she be of old family of pure gold ; 
and you will see her in the market-place, 
wearing, in addition to this precious piece of 
trepanning, a metal tiara, such as Grecian 
Queens wear upon the stage, stuck over with 
coarse jewels ; nay, more, dangling at the 
sides of her face, a pair of inconceivable gilt 
pendants, at a distance looking like bunches 
of queer keys, or that minikin household 
furniture our English ladies now choose to 
suspend from their girdles. But this is not 
all. At the extreme angles of her forehead, 
Keetje ' mistress if a person of high fashion 
must stick in two little square plots or tufts 
of frizzled silk, to pass for curls. This done, 
she may put on her cap of the finest lace, with 
its deep border or flap behind, fashioned like 
the brim of the dustman's hat, but from the 
costly daintiness of its material, and the 
creamy whiteness of the throat it lies against, 
somewhat more picturesque. Finally, if 
Keetje's mistress be a Friesland Miss Plam- 
borough of ' first water ' a lady who knows 
the world, and has a spirit superior to old- 
fashioned prejudices she must have by way 
of crown, all to her four caps (one of precious 
metals), a straw bonnet, a huge, heavy, coal- 
scuttle, festooned with loops and streamers of 
gaudy ribbon, and thriftily guarded at the 
edge with a hem or barrier of stout and gaudy 
printed chintz. Thus canopied are the comely 
wives and widows (maidens, possibly dis- 
pensing with the bonnet), who shrieked, 
clapped their hands, and, with every other 



possible demonstration of offence, pursued the 
wearer of the Brown Hat in Friesland. 

On the habiliments of the male moiety of 
society, tediousness forbids that we should 
expatiate; the less, as something will thus be 
left to be treated on a future day, when the 
grave question of apparel may be more 
solemnly entered upon. Enough for the 
moment, to say that it suits the singularities 
of this critical land : a land in which a 
Swimming Lion is the ensign, and of which 
His Majesty Topsy-Turvy might be sovereign; 
a land in which there is hardly a crooked 
horizontal line to be found, save among the 
sand-hills ; a land in which, with all its neat- 
ness' care, scarce a building, be it church or 
market-house, palace or exchange, can be 
prevailed upon to stand perpendicular ; a 
land in which for air you breathe extract of 
juniper, turf, tobacco, and stagnant waters, 
mixed ; a land in which people eat cheese 
with their tea, and where a child that plucks 
a nest runs great danger of being whipped as 
an enemy to Church and State guilty of 
trying to let in the republican ocean ; a land 
where full-grown babies set up clockwork 
gentlemen and papier m&che swans, by way 
of animating their garden, and the weedy 
ponds in the same ; a land where full-grown 
men undertake and complete some of the most 
magnificent enterprises which science can 
contrive for industry to carry out ; a land of 
teeming plenty and of high prices ; a land of 
bad digestions and beautiful complexions. 
No, the men of this land the shippers of 
Dordrecht, the potters of Delft, the gardeners 
of Broet, and the dairy farmers of Harlingen. 
decked out for fair or frolic must be to-day 
left with all their uncouth and indescribable 
finery, undescribable, it may be, for some 
future parable. 

But as if in the above there had not been 
indicated enough of what yet new and strange 
for Pilgrim to observe and to tolerate, and to 
smile at, with English supercilious civility in 
this country, the very names of places, 
even (as a descendant of Dr. Dilworth in- 
adequately remarked), ' are neither Christian 
nor becoming.' One might bring one's mind 
to bear to be jeered at or stared at, in a land 
resounding with pompous and euphonious 
words by the Wissihiccon, for instance, or 
on the Mississippi, or at Canandaigna, or 
among the Inscoraras, or when bound for 
Passamaquoddy. Even the prize -scold at 
Billingsgate was silenced and rendered meek 
by being called a Chrononhoionthologos. 
There 's much in four syllables ! But in 
Friesland the traveller is handed over from 
Workum to Higtum, and from Higtum to 
Midlum ; thence perhaps to Boxum, and from 
Boxum to Hallum, Dokkum, Kollum, &c., &c., 
&c. ; going through the whole alphabet of 
these ' make-believe ' names, the very study of 
which on the map is enough to make properly- 
brought-up persons disdainful and critical ! 
Yet, so far from feeling any proper sense of 



Charles Dickens.] 



ALCHEMY AND GUNPOWDER. 



their own position ; so far from the slightest 
shame or shrinking ; so far from one single 
deprecatory ' Pray don't make game of us ! 
We are decent folk after all, and well to do in 
the world, though some of us do come from 
Sueek ! ' these are the people, so lost to eveiy 
sense of fhe ridiculous at home, as to tumble, 
towzle, and in every other conceivable and 
contemptuous mode maltreat the useful, com- 
fortable, authentic, and in every respect un- 
obtrusively defensible Brown Hat aforesaid ! 
Did its wearer stop before a shop- window to 
look wistfully at one of those stupendous jars 
of pickles, which with a dozen of hard eggs 
for each guest, form so prominent a feature of 
the Dutchman's merry-making suppers ; his 
coat-tails were sure to be pulled by some 
grinning child, broader than long, and in 
facture closely resembling Mr. Staunton's 
broadly-based new chessman. Did he lean 
over a gate to admire some magnificent bird, 
the brilliant cleanlinesss of which on the 
green carpet, gives us a new idea of the 
beauty of ox or cow, a head would be picked 
up from the dyke-side ; with a liberal emis- 
sion of casual slang, and as likely as not, a 
stone would have been thrown did Holland 
contain a single stone for a David's sling to 
utter. Did he adventure along the Wall of 
Zwolle on a glowing autumn evening, or 
meekly take the second best place on the 
treckschuit which was to waft him down the 
canal from Groningen to Delfzel (a water- 
path in its way, as peculiar and contradictory 
of all received principles as any railroad ever 
carried over house-tops at the Minories, or 
through the great pleasure-gardens and 
greenhouses of a Sir Timothy Dod), it was 
always one and the same story one and the 
same contempt one and the same experience. 
Simple laughed with a most disconcerting and 
noisy sincerity; and Gentle stuffed their 
handkerchiefs into their mouths held both 
their own sides and poked their neighbours. 
' Driving Cloud " or other of the Ojibbeway 
Indians if let loose in Clare-Market, would 
hardly have been made to feel his conspicu- 
ousness more signally than our traveller. 
There was neither privacy, place, nor pity, 
for the Brown Hat in Friesland. 

_ Therefore, the wisest of these in advising 
his son, may have meant to say to him, 
'Never throw your oddity in the teeth of 
other men's oddities.' You cannot expect 
immunity for your own whims, if you force 
them upon other people's whims. Never 
expect that your 'ism' will find quarter 
among their 'isms;' or (to put the adage 
otherwise) he may have desired to recom- 
mend a reading backwards of the old maxim 
worn threadbare, rather by trampling upon, 
than by carrying about, to wit 'Live, and 
let live.' 

If then you would live a quiet life in Fries- 
land, NEVER WEAR A BROWN HAT ! 



ALCHEMY AND GUNPOWDER 



THE day-dream of mankind has ever been 
the Unattainable. To sigh for what is beyond 
our reach is from infancy to age, a fixed con- 
dition of our nature. To it we owe all the 
improvement that distinguishes civilised from 
savage life, to it we are indebted for all the 
great discoveries which, at long intervals, 
have rewarded thought. 

Though the motives which stimulated the 
earliest inquiries were frequently undefined, 
and, if curiously examined, would be found to 
be sometimes questionable, it has rarely hap- 
pened that the world has not benefited by 
them in the end. Thus Astrology, which 
ascribed to the stars an influence over the 
actions and destinies of man ; Magic, which 
attempted to reverse the laws of nature, and 
Alchemy, which aimed at securing unlimited 
powers of self-reward ; all tended to the final 
establishment of useful science. 

Of none of the sciences whose laws are 
fully understood, is this description truer than 
of that now called Chemistry, which once was 
Alchemy. That ' knowledge of the substance 
or composition of bodies,' which the Arabic 
root of both words implies, establishes a fact 
in place of a chimera. Experimental philo- 
sophy has made Alchemy an impossible belief, 
but the faith in it was natural in an age when 
reason was seldom appealed to. The credulity 
which accepted witchcraft for a truth, was 
not likely to reject the theory of the transmu- 
tation of metals, nor strain at the dogma of 
perpetual youth and health ; the concomi- 
tants of the Philosopher's Stone. 

The Alchemists claim for their science 
the remotest antiquity possible, but it was 
not until three or four centuries after the 
Christian era that the doctrine of trans- 
mutation began to spread. It was amongst 
the Arabian physicians that it took root. 
Those learned men, through whom was trans- 
mitted so much that was useful in astronomy, 
in mathematics, and in medicine, were deeply 
tinctured with the belief in an universal 
elixir, whose properties gave the power 
of multiplying gold, of prolonging life indefi- 
nitely, and of making youth perpetual. The 
discoveries which they made of the successful 
application of mercury in many diseases, led 
them to suppose that this agent contained 
within itself the germ of all curative in- 
fluences, and was the basis of all other 
metals. An Eastern imagination, ever prone 
to heighten the effects of nature, was not 
slow to ascribe a preternatural force to this 
medicine, but not finding it in its simple state, 
the practitioners of the new science had re- 
course to combination, in the hope, by that 
means, of attaining their object. To fix 
mercury became their first endeavour, and 
this fixation they described as ' catching the 
flying bird of Hermes.' Once embarked in 
the illusory experiment, it is easy to perceive 
how far the Alchemists might be led; nor 



136 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



need it excite any wonder that in pursuit of 
the ideal, they accidentally hit upon a good 
deal that was real. The labours, therefore, 
of the Arabian physicians were not thrown 
away, though they entangled the feet of 
science in mazes, from which escape was only 
effected, after the lapse of centuries of mis- 
directed efforts. 

From the period we have last spoken of, 
until the commencement of the eleventh 
century, the only Alchemist of note is the 
Arabian Geber, who, though he wrote on the 
perfections of metals, of the new found art of 
making gold, in a word, on the philosopher's 
stone, has only descended to our times as the 
founder of that jargon, which passes under 
the name of ' gibberish.' He was, however, a 
great authority in the middle ages, and allu- 
sions to ' Geber's cooks,' and ' Geber's kitchen,' 
are frequent amongst those who at length 
saw the error of their ways after wasting 
their substance in the vain search for the elixir. 

A longer interval might have elapsed but 
for the voice of Peter the Hermit, whose 
fanatical scheme for the recovery of the Holy 
Sepulchre was the cause of that gradual ab- 
sorption, by the nations of the West, of the 
learning which had so long been buried in the 
East. The Crusaders, or those, rather, who 
visited the shores of Syria under their protec- 
tion the men whose skill in medicine and 
letters rendered them useful to the invading 
armies acquired a knowledge of the Arabian 
languages, and of the sciences cultivated by 
Arabian philosophers, and this knowledge 
they disseminated through Europe. Some 
part of it, it is true, was derived from the 
Moors in Spain, but it was all conveyed in a 
common tongue which began now to be under- 
stood. To this era belong the names of 
Alfonso the Wise, King of Castile ; of Isaac 
Beimiram, the son of Solomon the physician ; 
of Hali Abbas, the scholar of Abimeher 
Moyses, the son of Sejar ; of Aben Sina, 
better known as Avicenna, and sometimes 
called Abohali ; of Averroes of Cordova, sur- 
named the Commentator ; of Easis, who is 
also called Almanzor and Albumasar ; and of 
John of Damascus, whose name has been 
latinised into Johannes Damascenus. All 
these, physicians by profession, were more or 
less professors of alchemy ; and besides these 
were such as Artephius, who wrote alchemical 
tracts about the year 1130, but who deserves 
rather to be remembered for the cool asser- 
tion which he makes in his ' Wisdom of 
Secrets ' that, at the time he wrote he had 
reached the patriarchal or fabulous age of 
one thousand and twenty-five years ! 

The thirteenth century came, and with it 
came two men who stand first, as they then 
stood alone, in literary and scientific know- 
ledge. One was a German, the other an En- 
glishman ; the first was Albertus Magnus, 
the last Roger Bacon. 

Of the former, many wonderful stories 
are told : such, for instance, as his having 



given a banquet to the King of the Romans, 
in the gardens of his cloister at Cologne, 
when he converted the intensity of winter 
into a season of summer, full of floAvcrs 
and fruits, which disappeared when the ban- 
quet was over ; and his having constructed a 
marvellous automaton, called ' Androi's,' which, 
like the invention of his contemporary, Roger 
Bacon, was said to be capable of auguring all 
questions, past, present, and to come. 

To know more than the rest of the world 
in any respect, but particularly in natural 
philosophy, was a certain method by which to 
earn the name of necromancer in the middle 
ages, and there are few whose occult fame has 
stood higher than that of Roger Bacon. He, 
was afraid, therefore, to speak plainly indeed, 
it was the custom of the early philosophers to 
couch their knowledge in what Bacon himself 
calls the ' tiicks of obscurity ; ' and in his cele- 
brated ' Epistola de SecretisJ he adverts to the 
possibility of his being obliged to do the same 
thing, through ' the greatness of the secrets which 
he shall handle.' With regard to the invention 
of his greatest secret, we shall give the words 
in which he speaks of the properties of gun- 
powder, and afterwards show in what terms 
he concealed his knowledge. ' Jioyses,' he 
says, ' may be made in the aire like thunders, 
yea, with greater horror than those that come 
of nature ; for a little matter fitted to the quan- 
tity of a thimble, maketh a horrible noise and 
wonderful lightning. And this is done after 
sundry fashions, whereby any citie or armie 
may be destroyed.' A more accurate description 
of the explosion of gunpowder could scarcely be 
given, and it is not to be supposed that Bacon 
simply confined himself to the theory of his 
art, when he knew so well the consequences 
arising from a practical application of it. On 
this head there is a legend extant, which has 
not, to our knowledge, been printed before, 
from which we may clearly see why he con- 
tented himself with the cabalistic form in 
which he conveyed his knowledge of what he 
deemed a fatal secret. 

Attached to Roger Bacon's laboratory, and 
a zealous assistant in the manifold occupations 
with which the learned Franciscan occupied 
himself, was a youthful student, whose name 
is stated to have been Hubert de Dreux. He 
was a Norman, and many of the attributes of 
that people were conspicuous in his character. 
He was of a quick intelligence and hasty 
courage, fertile in invention, and prompt in 
action, eloquent of discourse, and ready of 
hand ; all excellent qualities, to which was 
superadded an insatiable curiosity. Docile to 
receive instruction, and apt to profit by it, 
Hubert became a great favourite with the 
philosopher, and to him Bacon expounded 
many of the secrets or supposed secrets of 
the art which he strove to bring to perfection. 
He instructed him also in the composition of 
certain medicines, which Bacon himself be- 
lieved might be the means of prolonging life, 
though not to the indefinite extent dreamt of 



Charles Dic'.;cn.1 



ALCHEMY AND GUNPOWDER. 



137 



by those who put their whole faith in the 
Great Elixir. 

But there never yet was an adept in any 
art or science who freely communicated to 
his pupil the full amount of his own know- 
ledge ; something for experience to gather, or 
for ingenuity to discover, is always kept in 
reserve, and the instructions of Roger Bacon 
stopped short at one point. He was himself 
engaged in the prosecution of that chemical 
secret which he rightly judged to be a dan- 
gerous one, and, while he experimented with 
the compound of sulphur, saltpetre and char- 
coal, he kept himself apart from his general 
laboratory and wrought in a separate cell, 
to which not even Hubert had access. To 
know that the Friar had a mysterious occu- 
pation, which, more than the making of gold 
or the universal medicine, engrossed him, was 
enough of itself to rouse the young man's 
curiosity ; but when to this was added the 
fact, that, from time to time, strange and 
mysterious noises were heard, accompanied 
by bright corruscations and a new and 
singular odour, penetrating through the 
chinks close to which his eyes were stealthily 
rivetted, Hubert's eagerness to know all that 
his master concealed had no limit. He resolved 
to discover the secret, even though he should 
perish in the attempt ; he feared that there 
was good reason for the accusation of dealing 
in the Black Art, which, more than all others 
the monks of Bacon's own convent coun- 
tenanced ; but this apprehension only stimu- 
lated him the more. For some time Hubert 
waited without an opportunity occurring for 
gratifying the secret longing of his heart ; 
at last it presented itself. 

To afford medical assistance to the sick, 
was, perhaps, the most useful practice of 
conventual life, and the monks had always 
amongst them practitioners of the healing 
art, more or less skilful. Of this number, 
Roger Bacon was the most eminent, not only 
in the monastery to which he belonged, but 
in all Oxford. 

It was about the hour of noon on a gloomy 
day towards the end of November, in the 
year 1282, while the Friar and his pupil were 
severally employed, the former in his secret 
cell, and the latter in the general laboratory, 
that there arrived at the gate of the Francis- 
can convent a messenger 011 horseback, the 
bearer of news from Abingdon that Walter 
de Losely, the sheriff of Berkshire, had that 
morning met with a serious accident by a 
hurt from a lance, and was then lying 
dangerously wounded at the hostelry of the 
Chequers in Abingdon, whither he had been 
hastily conveyed. The messenger added that 
the leech who had been called in was most 
anxious for the assistance of the skilful Friar 
Roger Bacon, and urgently prayed that he 
would lose no time in coming to the aid of 
the wounded knight. 

Great excitement prevailed amongst the 
monks on the receipt of this intelligence, for 



Walter de Losely was not only a man of 
power and influence, but moreover, a great 
benefactor to their order. Friar Bacon was 
immediately sought and speedily made his 
appearance, the urgency of the message ad- 
mitting of no delay. He hastily enjoined 
Hubert to continue the preparation of an 
amalgam which he was desirous of getting 
into a forward state, and taking with him 
his case of instruments with the bandages 
and salves which he thought needful, was 
soon mounted on an easy, ambling palfrey on 
his way towards Abingdon, the impatient 
messenger riding before him to announce his 
approach. 

When he was gone, quiet again reigned in 
the convent, and Herbert de Dreux resumed 
his occupation. But it did not attract him 
long. Suddenly he raised his head from the 
work and his eyes were lit up with a gleam 
in which joy and fear seemed equally blended. 
For the first time, for months, he was quite 
alone. What if he could obtain access to his 
master's cell and penetrate the mystery in 
which his labours had been so long enveloped ! 
He cautiously stole to the door of the labora- 
tory, and peeped out into a long passage, at 
the further extremity of which a door opened 
into a small court where, detached from the 
main edifice and screened from all observa- 
tion, was a small building which the Friar 
had recently caused to be constructed. He 
looked about him timorously, fearing lest he 
might be observed ; but there was no cause 
for apprehension, scarcely any inducement 
could have prevailed with the superstitious 
Franciscans to turn their steps willingly 
in the direction of Roger Bacon's solitary 
cell. 

Re-assured by the silence, Hubert stole 
noiselessly onward, and tremblingly ap- 
proached the forbidden spot. His quick eye 
saw at a glance that the key was not in the 
door, and his countenance fell. The Friar's 
treasure was locked up ! He might see some- 
thing, however, if he could not enter the 
chamber. He knelt down, therefore, at the 
door, and peered through the keyhole. As 
lie pressed against the door, in doing so, it 
yielded to his touch. In the haste with 
which Friar Bacon had closed the entrance, 
the bolt had not been shot. Herbert rose 
hastily to his feet, and the next moment he 
was in the cell, looking eagerly round upon 
the crucibles and alembics, which bore witness 
to his master's labours. But beyond a general 
impression of work in hand, there was nothing 
to be gleaned from this survey. An open 
parchment volume, in which the Friar had 
recently been writing, next caught his atten- 
tion. If the secret should be there hi any 
known language. Hubert knew something of 
the Hebrew, but nothing yet of Arabic. He 
was reassured ; the characters were familiar 
to him ; the language Latin. He seized the 
volume, and read the few lines which the 
Friar had just traced on the last page. 



138 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



They ran thus : 

'Videas t;mitMi utram loqiicar in senigmate 
vel secnndnni veritatem.' And, further (which 
we translate) : ' He that would see these 
things shall have the key that openoth and no 
man shutteth, and when he shall shut no man 
is able to open again.' 

' But the secret the secret!' cried Hubert, 
impatiently, 'let me know what "these 
things " are ! ' 

He hastily turned the leaf back and read 
agftin. The passage was that one in the 
' Jfjnstola de Secretis ' which spoke of the 
artificial thunder and lightning, and beneatli 
it was the full and precise recipe for its com- 
position. This at once explained the strange 
noises and the flashes of light which he had 
so anxiously noticed. Sxirprising and gratify- 
ing as this discovery might be, there was, 
Hubert thought, something beyond. Roger 
Bacon, he reasoned, was not one to practise 
an experiment like this for mere amusement. 



It was, he felt certain, a new form of invoca- 
tion, more potent, doubtless, over the beings 
of another world, than any charm yet re- 
corded. Be it as it might, he would try 
whether, from the materials around him, it 
were not in his power to produce the same 
result. 

'Here are all the necessary ingredients,' 
he exclaimed ; ' this yellowish powder is the 
well known sulphur, in which I daily bathe 
the argent-vive ; this bitter, glistening sub- 
stance is the salt of the rock, the mlis petrce ; 
and this black calcination, the third agent 
But the proportions are given, and here stands 
a glass cucurbit in which they should be 
mingled. It is of the form my master mostly 
uses round, with a small neck and a narrow 
mouth, to be luted closely, without doubt. He 
has often told me that the sole regenerating 
power of the universe is heat ; yonder furnace 
shall supply it, and then Hubert de Dreux is 
his master's equal ! ' 

***** 

The short November day was drawing to 
a close, when, after carefully tending the 
wounded sheriff, and leaving such instruc- 
tions with the Abingdon leech as he judged 
sufficient for his patient's well-doing, Roger 
Bacon again mounted his palfrey, and turned 
its head in the direction of Oxford. He was 
unwilling to be a loiterer after dark, and his 
beast was equally desirous to be once more 
comfortably housed, so that his homeward 
journey was accomplished even more rapidly 
than his morning excursion ; and barely an 
hour had elapsed when the Friar drew the 
rein at the foot of the last gentle eminence, 
close to which lay the walls of the cloistered 
city. To give the animal breathing-space, he 
rode quietly up the ascent, and then paused 
for a few moments before he proceeded, his 
mind intent on subjects foreign to the 
speculations of all his daily associations. 

Suddenly, as he mused on his latest dis- 
covery, and calculated to what principal object 



it might be devoted, a stream of fiery light 
shot rapidly athwart the dark, drear sky, and 
before he had space to think what the iii. 
might portend, a roar as of thunder shook the 
air, and simultaneous with it, a shrill, piercing 
HI, mingled with the fearful sound ; then 
burst forth a volume of flame, and on the 
wind came floating a sulphurous vapour which, 
to him alone, revealed the nature of the ex- 
plosion he had just witnessed. 

' Gracious God ! ' he exclaimed, while the 
cold sweat poured like rain-drops down his 
forehead, ' the fire has caught the fulminating 
powder ! But what meant that dreadful cry ? 
Surely nothing of human life has suffered ! 
The boy Hubert, but, no, he was at work 
at the further extremity of the building. But 
this is no time for vain conjecture, let me 
learn the worst at once ! ' 

And with these words he urged his af- 
frighted steed to its best pace, and rode rapidly 
into the city. 

All was consternation there : the tremen- 
dous noise had roused overy inhabitant, and 
people were hurrying to and fro, some hasten- 
ing towards the place from whence the sound 
had proceeded, others rushing wildly from it. 
It was but too evident that a dreadful catas- 
trophe, worse even than Bacon dreaded, had 
happened. It was with difficulty he made his 
way through the crowd, and came upon the 
ruin which still blazed fiercely, appalling the 
stoutest of heart. There was a tumult of 
voices, but above the outcries of the affrighted 
monks, and of the scared multitude, rose the 
loud voice of the Friar, calling upon them to 
extinguish the flames. This appeal turned 
all eyes towards him, and then associating him 
with an evil, the cause of which they were 
unable to comprehend, the maledictions of the 
monks broke forth. 

' Seize the accursed magician,' they shouted ; 
' he has made a fiery compact with the demon ! 
Already one victim is sacrificed, our turn 
will come next ! See, here are the mangled 
limbs of his pupil, Hubert de Dreux ! The 
fiend has claimed his reward, and borne away 
his soul. Seize on the wicked sorcerer, and 
take him to a dungeon ! ' 

Roger Bacon sate stupified by the unex- 
pected blow ; he had no power, if he had 
possessed the will, to offer the slightest resist- 
ance to the fury of the enraged Franciscans, 
who, in the true spirit of ignorance, had ever 
hated him for his acquirements. With a deep 
sigh for the fate of the young man, whose im- 
prudence he now saw had been the cause of 
this dreadful event, he yielded himself up to 
his enemies ; they tore him from his palfrey, 
and with many a curse, and many a buffet, 
dragged him to the castle, and lodged him in 
one of its deepest dungeons. 

The flames from the ruined cell died out of 
themselves ; but those which the envy and 
dread of Bacon's genius had kindled, were 
never extinguished, but with his life. 

In the long years of imprisonment which 



Charles Dickens. 



A GOOD PLAIN COOK. 



139 



followed the doom of the stake being averted 
only by powerful intercession with the Pope 
Bacon had leisure to meditate on the value 
of all he had done to enlarge the understand- 
ing and extend the knowledge of his species. 
' The prelates and friars,' he wrote in a letter 
which still remains, ' have kept me starving 
in close prison, nor will they suffer anyone to 
come to me, fearing lest my writings should 
come to any other than the Pope and them- 
selves.' 

He reflected that of all living men he stood 
well nigh alone in the consciousness that in 
the greatest of his inventions he had produced 
a discovery of incalculable value, but one for 
which on every account the time was not 
ripe. 

' I will not die,' he said, ' without leaving to 
the world the evidence that the secret was 
known to me whose marvellous power future 
ages shall acknowledge; But not yet shall it 
be revealed. Generations must pass away and 
the minds of men become better able to endure 
the light of science, before they can profit by 
my discovery. Let him who already possesses 
knowledge, guess the truth these words 
convey.' 

And in place of the directions by which 
Hubert de Dreux had been guided, he altered 
the sentence as follows : 

Sed tamen salis petrse, 

LURTT MONE CAP UBRE 
et sulphuris.' 

The learned have found that these mystical 
words conceal the anagram of Carbonum 
pulvere, the third ingredient in the compo- 
sition of Gunpowder. 



'A GOOD PLAIN COOK." 



' "WANTED, a good plain Cook,' is hungrily 
echoed from the columns of the Times, by half 
the husbands and bachelors of Great Britain. 
According to the true meaning of the words 
'A good plain Cook' to judge from the 
unskilful manner in which domestic cookery 
is carried on throughout the length and 
breadth of the land is a very great rarity. 
But the conventional and the true meaning of 
the expression widely differ. 

'What is commonly self-called a plain 
cook,' says a writer in the Examiner, ' is a 
cook who spoils food for low wages. She is 
a cook, not because she knows anything about 
cookery, but because she prefers the kitchen- 
fire to scrubbing floors, polishing grates, 
or making beds. A cook who can boil a po- 
tato and dress a mutton-chop is one in a 
thousand.' 

Such very plain cooks will always exist for 
dyspeptic purposes, while those who are in 
authority over them remain ignorant of an 
art which, however much it may be slighted, 
exercises a drowning influence over health and 
happiness. Eat we must ; and it is literally 
a subject of vital importance whether what 



we eat be properly adapted for healthful 
digestion or not. 

Medical statistics tell us that of all diseases 
with which the English are afflicted, those 
arising directly or indirectly from impaired di- 
gestive organs are the most prevalent. "We are 
falsely accused in consequence of over-eating ; 
but the true cause of our ailments is bad cook- 
ing. A Frenchman or a German devours much 
more at one of his own inexhaustible tables- 
d'hote than an Englishman consumes at his 
dining-table and with impunity ; for the 
foreigner's food being properly prepared is 
easily digested. ' The true difference,' says a 
pleasant military writer in Blackwood's Ma- 
gazine, ' between English and foreign cookery 
is just this: in preparing butcher's meat for 
the table, the aim of foreign cookery is to 
make it tender, of English to make it hard. 
And both systems equally effect their object, 
in spite of difficulties on each side. The 
butcher's meat, which you buy abroad, is 
tough, coarse-grained, and stringy ; yet foreign 
cookery sends this meat to table tender. The 
butcher's meat which you buy in England is 
tender enough when it comes home ; but 
domestic cookery sends it up hard. Don't 
tell me the hardness is in the meat itself. 
Nothing of the kind ; it 's altogether an 
achievement of the English cuisine. I appeal 
to a leg of mutton, I appeal to a beef-steak, 
as they usually come to table ; the beef half- 
broiled, the mutton half-roasted. Judge for 
yourself. The underdone portion of each is 
tender ; the portion that 's dressed is hard. 
Argal, the hardness is due to the dressing, 
not to the meat : it is a triumph of domestic 
cookery. Engage a " good plain cook " tell 
her to boil a neck of mutton, that will show 
you what I mean. All London necks of 
mutton come to table crescents, regularly 
curled.' 

This is but too true : the real art of stewing 
is almost unknown in Great Britain, and even 
in Ireland, despite the fame of an 'Irish 
stew.' 

Everything that is not roasted or fried, is 
boiled, ' a gallop,' till the quality of tender- 
ness is consolidated to the consistency of 
caoutchouc. Such a thing as a stewpan is 
almost unknown in houses supported by less 
than from three to five hundred a year. 

These gastronomic grievances are solely due 
to neglected education. M. Alexis Soyer, with 
a touch of that quiet irony which imparts to 
satire its sharpest sting, dedicated his last 
Cookery-book 'to the daughters of Albion.' 
Having some acquaintance with their defi- 
ciencies, he laid his book slyly at their feet 
to drop such a hint as is conveyed when a 
dictionary is handed to damsels who blun- 
der in orthography, or when watches are 
presented to correct unpunctuality. It is to 
be feared, however, that 'the daughters ol 
Albion ' were too busy with less useful 
though to them scarcely less essential accom- 
plishments, to profit by his hint. Cookery is 



140 



HOUSEHOLD WOKDS. 



[Conducted by 



a subject they have never been taught to 
regard as worthy of their attention : rather, 
indeed, as one to be avoided ; for it is never 
discussed otherwise than apologetically, with 
a simpering sort of jocularity, or as something 
which it is 'low' to know anything about. 
When a certain diplomatist was reminded 
that his mother had been a cook, he did not 
deny the fact ; but assured the company, 
'upon his honour, that she was a very bad one.' 
People in the best society do not hesitate to 
bore others with their ailments, and talk 
about cures and physic ; but conversation re- 
specting prevention which is better than 
cure ana wholesomely prepared food is 
tabooed. 

Young ladies of the leisure classes are edu- 
cated to become uncommonly acute critics of 
all that pertains to personal blandishment. 
They keep an uncompromisingly tight hand 
over their milliners and ladies maids. They 
can tell to a thread when a flounce is too 
narrow or a tuck too deep. They are taught 
to a shade what colours suit their respective 
complexions, and to a hair how their coiffure 
ought to be arranged. Woe unto the seam- 
stress or handmaiden who sins in these 
matters! But her 'good plain cook' when 
a damsel is promoted to wedlock, and owns one 
passes unreproached for the most heinous 
offences. Badly seasoned and ill assimilated 
soup ; fish, without any fault of the fishmonger, 
soft and flabby ; meat rapidly roasted before 
fierce fires burnt outside and raw within ; 
poultry rendered by the same process tempt- 
ing to the eye, till dissection reveals red and 
uncooked joints ! These crimes, from their 
frequency and the ignorance of ' the lady of the 
house,' remain unpunished. Whereupon, hus- 
bands, tired of their Barmecide feasts which 
disappoint the taste more because they have 
often a promising look to the eye prefer 
better fare at their clubs ; and escape the Scylla 
of bad digestion, to be wrecked on the Cha- 
rybdis of domestic discord. All this is owing 
to the wife's culinary ignorance, and to your 
' Good Plain Cooks.' 

We do not say that the daughters of the 
wealthy and well-to-do should be submitted 
to regular kitchen apprenticeships, and taught 
the details of cookery, any more than that 
they should learn to make shoes or to fit and 
sew dresses. But it is desirable that they 
should acquire principles such principles as 
would enable them to apply prompt correc- 
tion to the errors of their hired cooks. It 
is no very bold assertion that were such a 
knowing and judicious supervision generally 
exercised, the stomach diseases, under which 
half our nation is said to groan, would be 
materially abated. 

Let us take a step or two lower in the 
ladder of English life, where circumstances 
oblige the Good Plain Cook and the wife to be 
one and the same person. Many a respectable 
clerk, and many a small farmer, is doomed 
from one year's end to another to a weary- 



ing disproportion of cold, dry, xmcomfortable 
dinners, because his wife's knowledge of 
cookery takes no wider range than that 
which pertains to the roasted, boiled, and fried. 
Thousands of artisans and labourers are de- 
prived of half the actual nutriment of food, and 
of all the legitimate pleasures of the table, be- 
cause their better halves though good plain 
cooks, in the ordinary acceptation of the term 
are in utter darkness as to economising, and 
rendering palatable the daily sustenance of 
their families. ' If we could see,' says a writer 
before quoted, 'by the help of an Asmodeus 
what is going on at the dinner-hour of the 
humbler of the middle class, what a spectacle 
of discomfort, waste, ill-temper, and conse- 
quent ill-conduct, it would be ! The man 
quarrels with his wife because there is nothing 
he can eat, and he generally makes up in drink 
for the deficiencies in the article of food. Gin 
is the consolation to the spirits and the re- 
source to the baulked appetite. There is thus 
not only the direct waste of food and detriment 
to health, but the farther consequent waste of 
the use of spirits, with its injury to the habits 
and the health. On the other hand, people 
who eat well drink moderately ; the satisfac- 
tion of appetite with relish dispensing with 
recourse to stimulants. Good-humour, too, 
and good health follow a good meal, and by a 
good meal we mean anything, however simple, 
well dressed in its way. A rich man may live 
very expensively and very ill, and a poor one 
very frugally but very well, if it be his good 
fortune to have a good cook in his wife or his 
servant ; and a ministering angel a good cook 
is, either in the one capacity or the other, not 
only to those in humble circumstances, but to 
many above them of the class served by what 
are self-termed professed cooks, which is too 
frequently an affair of profession purely, and 
who are to be distinguished from plain cooks 
only in this, that they require larger wages for 
spoiling food, and spoil much more in quantity, 
and many other articles to boot.' 

Great would be the advantage to the com- 
munity, if cookery were made a branch of 
female education. To the poor, the gain 
would be incalculable. ' Amongst the prizes 
which the Bountifuls of both sexes are fond 
of bestowing in the country,' we again quote 
the Examiner, 'we should like to see some 
offered for the best-boiled potato, the best- 
grilled mutton-chop, and the best-seasoned 
hotch-potch soup or broth. In writing of a 
well-boiled potato, we are aware that we 
shall incur the contempt of many for attach- 
ing importance to a thing they suppose to be 
so common ; but the fact is, that their con- 
tempt arises, as is often the origin of contempt, 
from their ignorance, there not being one per- 
son in ten thousand who has ever seen and 
tasted that great rarity a well-boiled potato.' 

This is scarcely an exaggeration. The im- 
portance attached to the point by the highest 
gastronomic authorities, is shown by what 
took place, some years since, at the meeting 



Charles Dickens.] 



TWO-HANDED DICK THE STOCKMAN. 



141 



of a Pall Mall Club Committee specially 
called for the selection of a cook. The can- 
didates were an Englishman, from the Albion 
Tavern, and a Frenchman recommended by 
Tide. The eminent divine who presided in 
right of distinguished connoisseurship put the 
first question to the candidates. It was this : 
' Can you boil a potato ? ' 

Let us hope that these hints will fructify 
and be improved upon, and that the first prin- 
ciples of cooking will become, in some way, a 
part of female education. In schools, however, 
this will be difficult. It can only be a branch 
of household education ; and until it does so 
become, we shall continue to be afflicted with 
' Good Plain Cooks.' 



TWO-HANDED DICK THE STOCKMAN. 

AN ADVENTURE IN THE BUSH,. 

TRAVELLING in the Bush one rainy season, 
I put up for the night at a small weather- 
bound iun, perched half way up a mountain 
range, where several Bush servants on the 
tramp had also taken refuge from the down- 
pouring torrents. I had had a long and 
fatiguing ride over a very bad countiy, so, 
after supper, retired into the furthest corner 
of the one room that served for ' kitchen, and 
parlour, and all,' and there, curled up in niy 
blanket, in preference to the bed offered by 
our host, which was none of the cleanest ; with 
half-shut eyes, I glumly puffed at my pipe in 
silence, alLowiug the hubble-bubble of the 
Bushmen's gossip to flow through my un- 
noting ears. 

Fortunately for my peace, the publican's 
stock of rum had been some time exhausted, 
and as I was the latest comer, all the broiling 
and frying had ceased, but a party sat round 
the fire, evidently set in for a spell at 'yarning.' 
At first the conversation ran in ordinary 
channels, such as short reminiscences of old 
world rascality, perils in the Bush. Till at 
length a topic arose which seemed to have a 
paramount interest for all. This was the 
prowess of a certain Two-Handed Dick the 
Stockman. 

' Yes, yes ; I '11 tell you what it is, mates,' 
said one ; ' this confounded reading and writing, 
that don't give plain fellows like you and me a 
chance ; now, if it were to come to fighting for 
a living, I don't care whether it was half-minute 
time and London rules, rough and tumble, 
or single stick, or swords and bayonets, or 
tomahawks, I 'in dashed if you and me, and 
Two-Handed Dick, wouldn't take the whole 
Legislative Coxmcil, the Governor and Judges 
one down 'tother come on. Though, to be 
sure, Dick could thrash any two of us.' 

I was too tired to keep awake, and dozed 
off, to be again and again disturbed with 
cries of ' Bravo, Dick ! ' ' That 's your sort ! ' 
' Horn-ay, Dick ! ' all signifying approval of 
that individual's conduct in some desperate 
encounter, which formed the subject of a stir- 
ring narrative. 



For months after that night this idea of 
Two-Handed Dick haunted me, but the bustle 
of establishing a new station at length drove 
it out of my head. 

I suppose a year had elapsed from the night 
when the fame of the double-fisted stockman 
first reached me. I had to take a three days' 
journey to buy a score of fine-woolled rams, 
through a country quite new to me, which I 
chose because it was a short cut recently dis- 
covered. I got over, the first day, forty-five 
miles comfortably. The second day, in the 
evening, I met an ill-looking fellow walking 
with a broken musket, and his arm in a sling. 
He seemed sulky, and I kept my hand on my 
double-barrelled pistol all the time I was 
talking to him ; he begged a little tea and 
sugar, which I could not spare, but I threw 
him a fig of tobacco. In answer to my 
questions about his arm, he told me, with a 
string of oaths, that a bull, down in some 
mimosa flats, a day's journey a-head, had 
charged him, flung him into a water-hole, 
broken his arm, and made him lose his sugar 
and tea bag. Bulls in Australia are generally 
quiet, but this reminded me that some of the 
Highland black cattle imported by the Aus- 
tralian Company, after being driven off by a 
party of Gully Bakees (cattle stealers), had 
escaped into the mountains and turned quite 
wild. Out of this herd, which was of a breed 
quite unsuited to the country, a bull some- 
times, when driven off by a stronger rival, 
would descend to the mimosa flats, and 
wander about, solitary and dangerously fierce. 

It struck me as I rode off, that it was quite 
as well my friend's arm and musket had been 
disabled, for he did not look the soi't of man 
it would be pleasant to meet in a thicket of 
scrub, if he fancied the horse you rode. So, 
keeping one eye over my shoulder, and a 
sharp look-out for any other traveller of the 
same breed, I rode off at a brisk pace. 1 made 
out afterwards that my foot friend was Jerry 
Jonson, hung for shooting a bullock-driver, 
the following year. 

At sun-down, when I reached the hut where 
I had intended to sleep, I found it deserted> 
and so full of fleas, I thought it better to 
camp out ; so I hobbled out old Grey-tail on 
the best piece of grass I could find which was 
very poor indeed. 

The next morning when I went to look for 
my horse he was nowhere to be found. I put 
the saddle on my head and tracked him for 
hours, it was evident the poor beast had 
been travelling away in search of grass. I 
walked until my feet were one mass of 
blisters ; at length, when about _to give up 
the search in despair, having quite lost the 
track on stony ground, I came upon the 
marks quite fresh in a bit of swampy ground, 
and a few hundred yards further found 
Master Grey-tail rolling in the mud of a 
nearly dry water-hole as comfortably as 
possible. I put down the saddle and called 
him ; at that moment I heard a loud roar and 



142 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted oy 



crash in a scrub behind me, and out rushed 
at a terrific pace a black Highland bull 
charging straight at me. I had only just 
time to throw myself on one side flat on the 
ground as he thundered by me. My next 
move was to scramble among a small .clump 
of trees, one of great size, the rest were mere 
saplings. 

The bull having missed his mark, turned 
again, and first revenged himself by tossing 
my saddle up in the air, until fortunately it 
lodged in some bushes ; then, having smelt 
me out, he commenced a circuit round the 
trees, stamping, pawing, and bellowing fright- 
fully. With his red eyes and long sharp 
horns he looked like a demon ; I was quite 
unarmed, having broken my knife the day 
before ; my pistols were in my holsters, and I was 
wearied to death. My only chance consisted 
in dodging him round the trees until he should 
be tired out. Deeply did I regret having left 
my faithful dogs Boomer and Bounder behind. 

The bull charged again and again, some- 
times coming with such force against the 
tree that he fell on his knees, sometimes 
bending the saplings behind which I stood 
until his horns almost touched me. There was 
not a branch I could lay hold of to climb up. 
How long this awful game of ' touchwood ' 
lasted, I know not ; it seemed hours ; after 
the first excitement of self-preservation 
passed off, weariness again took possession 
of me, and it required all the instinct of 
self-preservation to keep me on my feet ; 
several times the bull left me for a few 
seconds, pacing suddenly away, bellowing 
his malignant discontent ; but before I could 
cross over to a better position he always 
came back at full speed. My tongue clave 
" to the roof of my mouth, my eyes grew hot 
and misty, my knees trembled under me, I 
felt it impossible to hold out until dark. At 
length I grew desperate, and determined to 
make a run for the opposite covert the 
moment the bull turned towards the water- 
hole again. I felt sure I was doomed, and 
thought of it until I grew indifferent. The 
bull seemed to know I was worn out, and 
grew more fierce and rapid in his charges, 
but just when I was going to sit down under 
the great tree and let him do his worst, I 
heard the rattle of a horse among the rocks 
above, and a shout that sounded like the 
voice of an angel. Then came the barking 
of a dog, and the loud reports of a stockwhip, 
but the bull with his devilish eyes fixed on 
me, never moved. 

Up came a horseman at full speed ; crack fell 
the lash on the black bull's hide ; out spirted 
the blood in a long streak. The bull turned 
savagely charged the horseman. The horse 
wheeled round just enough to baffle him 110 
more again the lash descended, cutting like a 
long flexible razor, but the mad bull was not 
to be beaten off by a whip : he charged again 
and again ; but he had met his match ; right 
and left, as needed, the horse turned, some- 



times pivotting on his hind, sometimes on his 
fore-legs. 

The stockman shouted something, leapt 
from his horse, and strode forward to meet 
the bull with an open knife between his teeth. 
As the beast lowered his head to charge, he 
seemed to catch him by the horns. There 
was a struggle, a cloud of dust, a stamping 
like two strong men wrestling I could not 
see clearly ; but the next moment the bull 
was on his back, the blood welling from his 
throat, his limbs quivering in death. 

The stranger, covered with mud and dust, 
came to me, saying as unconcernedly as if he 
had been killing a calf in a slaughter-house, 
' He 's dead enough, young man ; he won't 
trouble anybody any more.' 

I walked two or three paces toward the 
dead beast ; my senses left me I fainted. 

When I came to myself, my horse was 
saddled, bridled, and tied up to a bush. My 
stranger friend was busy flaying the bull. 

' I should like to have a pair of boots out 
of the old devil,' he observed, in answer to 
my enquiring look, ' before the dingoes and the 
eagle hawks dig into his carcase.' 

We rode out of the flats up a gentle ascent, 
as night was closing in. I was not in talking 
humour ; but I said, ' You have saved my 
life.' 

' Well, I rather think I have ' bxit this was 
muttered in an under tone ; ' it 's not the first 
1 have saved, or taken either, for that matter.' 

I was too much worn out for thanking much, 
but I pulled out a silver hunting-watch and 
put it into his hand. He pushed it back, almost 
roughly, saying, ' No, Sir, not now ; I shalln't 
take money or money's worth for that, though 
I may ask something some time. It 's nothing, 
after all. I owed the old black devil a grudge 
for spoiling a blood filly of mine ; beside, 
though I didn't know it when I rode up first, 
and went at the beast to take the devil out 
of myself as much as anything, I rather 
think that you are the young gentleman that 
ran through the Bush at night to Manchester 
Dan's hut, when his wife was bailed up by the 
Blacks, and shot one-eyed Jackey, in spite of 
the Governor's proclamation.' 

' You seem to know me,' I answered ; 'pray 
may I ask who you are, if it is a fair question, 
for I cannot remember ever having seen you 
before.' 

' Oh, they call me " Two-handed Dick," in 
this country.' 

The scene in the roadside inn flashed on 
my recollection. Before I could say another 
word, a sharp turn round the shoulder of the 
range we were traversing, brought us in sight 
of the fire of a shepherd^, hut. The dogs ran 
out barking ; we hallooed and cracked our 
whips, and the hut-keeper came to meet us 
with a fire-stick in his hand. 

' Lord bless my heart and soul ! Dick, is 
that thee at last ? Well, I thought thee were't 
never coming ; ' cried the hut-keeper, a little 
man, who came limping forward very fast 



Charles Dickeus.] 



TWO-HANDED DICK THE STOCKMAN. 



113 



with the help of a crutch-handled stick. ' I 
say, Missis, Missis, here 's Dick, here 's Two- 
handed Dick.' 

This was uttered in a shrill, hysterical sort 
of scream. Out came ' Missis ' at the top of 
her speed, and began hugging Dick as he was 
getting off his horse, her arms reached a little 
above his waist, laughing and crying, both at 
the same time, while her husband kept 
fast hold of the Stockman's hand, mutter- 
ing, ' Lord, Dick, I 'm so glad to see thee.' 
Meanwhile the dogs barking, and a flock of 
weaned lambs just penned, ba'aing, made such 
a riot, that I was fairly bewildered. So, 
feeling myself one too many, I slipped away, 
leading off both the horses to the other side 
the hut, where I found a shepherd, who 
showed me a grass paddock to feed the nags 
a bit before turning them out for the night. 
I said to him, ' What is the meaning of all 
this going on between your mate and his 
wife, and the big Stockman 1 ' 

' The meaning, Stranger ; why, that 's Two- 
handed Dick, and my mate is little Jemmy 
that he saved, and Charley Anvils at the 
same time, when the Blacks slaughtered the 
rest of the party, near on a dozen of them.' 

On returning, I found supper smoking on 
the table, and we had made a regular ' Bush ' 
meal. The Stockman then told my adventure, 
and, when they had exchanged all the news, 
I had little difficulty in getting the hut- 
keeper to the point I wanted ; the great 
difficulty lay in preventing man and wife 
from telling the same story at the same time. 
However, by judicious management, I was 
able to gather the following account of Two- 
handed DicKs Fight and Ride. 

'When first 1 met Dick he was second 
Stockman to Mr. Eonalds, and I took a shep- 
herd's place there ; it was my second place in 
this country, for you see I left the Old Country 
in a bad year for the weaving trade, and was 
one of the first batch of free emigrants that 
came out, the rest were chiefly Irish. I found 
shepherding suit me very well, and my Missis 
was hut-keeper. Well, Dick and I got very 
thick ; I used to write his letters for him, 
and read in an evening and so on. Well, 
though I undertook a shepherd's place I soon 
found I could handle an axe pretty well. 
Throwing the shuttle gives the use of 
the arms, you see, and Dick put into my 
head that I could make more money if I 
took to making fences ; I sharpening the 
rails and making the mortice-holes, and 
a stranger man setting them. I did several 
jobs at odd times, and was thought very 
handy. Well, Mr. Ronalds, during the time 
of the great, drought five years ago, de- 
termined to send up a lot of cattle to the 
North, where he had heard there was plenty 
of water and grass, and form a Station there. 
Dick was picked out as Stockman ; a 
young gentleman, a relation of Mr. Eonalds, 
went as head of the party, a very foolish, con- 
ceited young man, who knew very little of 



Bush life, and would not be taught. There 
were eight splitters and fencers, besides 
Charley Anvils, the blacksmith, and two 
bullock drivers. 

' I got leave to go because I wanted to see 
the country and Dick asked. My missis 
was sorely against my going. I was to be 
storekeeper, as well as do any farming ; and 
work if wanted. 

' We had two drays, and were well armed. 
We were fifteen days going up before we got 
into the new country, and then we travelled 
five days ; sometimes twenty-four hours with- 
out water ; and sometimes had to unload the 
drays two or three times a day, to get over 
creeks. The fifth day we came to very fine 
land ; the grass met over our horses' necks, 
and the river was a chain of water-holes, all 
full, and as clear as crystal. The kangaroos 
were hopping about as plentiful as rabbits in 
a warren ; and the grass by the river side 
had regular tracks of the emus, where they 
went down to drink. 

' We had been among signs of the Blacks 
too, for five days, bat had not seen anything 
of them, although we could hear the devils 
cooing at nightfall, calling to each other. We 
kept regular watch and watch at first four 
sentinels, and every man sleeping with his gun 
at hand. 

'Now, as it was Dick's business to tail (follow) 
the cattle, five-hundred head, I advised him 
to have his musket sawed off in the barrel, so 
as to be a more handy size for using on horse- 
back. He took my advice ; and Charley 
Anvils made a very good job of it, so that he 
could bring it under his arm when hanging 
at his back from a rope sling, and fire with 
one hand. It was lucky I thought of it, as it 
turned out. 

' At length the overseer fixed on a spot for 
the Station. It was very well for water and 
grass, and a very pretty view, as he said, but 
it was too near a thicket where the Blacks 
would lie in ambush, for safety. The old 
Bushmen wanted it planted on a neck of land, 
where the waters protected it all but one 
side, and there a row of fence would have 
made it secure. 

' Well, we set to work, and soon had a lot 
of tall trees down. Charley put up his forge 
and his grindstone, to keep the axe sharp, 
and I staid with him. Dick went tailing the 
cattle, and the overseer sat on a log and 
looked on. The second day a mob of Blacks 
came down on the opposite side of the river. 
They were quite wild, regular myals, but 
some of our men with green branches, went 
and made peace with them. They liked our 
bread and sugar ; and after a short time we 
had a lot of them helping to draw rails, fish- 
ing for us, bringing wild honey, kangaroos, 
rats, and firewood, in return for butter and 
food, so we began to be less careful about our 
arms. We gave them iron tomahawks, and 
they soon found out that they could cut out 
an opossum from a hollow in half-an-hour 



144 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



with one of our tomahawks, while it took a 
day with one of their own stone ones. 

'And so the time passed very pleasantly. 
We worked away. The young men and gins 
worked for us. The chiefs adorned them- 
selves with the trinkets and clothes we gave 
them, and fished and hunted, and admired 
themselves in the river. 

' Dick never trusted them ; he stuck to his 
cattle ; he warned us not to trust them, and 
the overseer called him a bloodthirsty mur- 
dering blackguard for his pains. 

' One day, the whole party were at work, 
chopping and trimming weather-boards for 
the hut ; the Blacks helping as usual. I was 
turning the grindstone for Charley Anvils, 
and Dick was coming up to the dray to get 
some tea, but there was a brow of a hill be- 
tween him and us ; the muskets were all piled 
in one corner. I heard a howl, and then a 
scream our camp was full of armed Blacks. 
When I raised my head, I saw the chief, 
Captain Jack we called him, with a broad 
axe in his hand, and the next minute he had 
chopped the overseer's head clean off ; in two 
minutes all my mates were on the ground. 
Three or four came running up to us ; one 
threw a spear at me, which I half parried 
with a pannikin I was using to wet the grind- 
stone, but it fixed deep in my hip, and part of 
it I believe is there still. Charley Anvils had 
an axe in his hand, and cut down the first 
two fellows that came up to him, but he was 
floored in a minute with twenty wounds. 
They were so eager to kill me, that one of 
them, luckily, or I should not have been alive 
now, cut the spear in my hip shortoff. Another, 
a young lad I had sharpened a tomahawk for 
a few days before, chopped me across the 
head ; you can see the white hair. Down I 
fell, and nothing could have saved us, but the 
other savages had got the tarpaulin off, and 
were screaming with delight, plundering the 
drays, which called my enemies off. Just 
then, Dick came in sight. He saw what was 
the matter ; but although there were more 
than a hundred black devils, all armed, 
painted, bloody, and yelling, he never stopped 
or hesitated, but rode slap through the camp, 
fired bang among them, killing two, and 
knocking out the brains of another. As he 
passed by a top rail, where an axe was stick- 
ing, he caught it up. The men in the camp 
were dead enough ; the chief warriors had 
made the rush there, and every one was 
pierced with several spears, or cut down from 
close behind by axes in the hands of the 
chiefs. We, being further off, had been 
attacked by the boys only. Dick turned to- 
wards us, and shouted my name ; I could 
not answer, but I managed to sit up an 
instant ; he turned towards me, leaned down, 
caught me by the jacket, and dragged me 
on before him like a log. Just then Charley, 
who had crept under the grindstone, cried 
" Oh, Dick, don't leave me ! " As he said 
that, a lot of them came running down, 



for they had seen enough to know that, un- 
less they killed us all, their job would not be 
half-done. As Dick turned to face them, 
they gave way and flung spears, but they could 
not hurt him ; they managed to get between 
us and poor Charley. Dick rode back a 
circuit, and dropped me among some bushes 
on a hill, where I could see all. Four times 
he charged through and through a whole 
mob, with an axe in one hand and his short 
musket in the other. He cut them down 
right and left, as if he had been mowing; he 
scared the wretches, although the old women 
kept screeching and urging them, on, as they 
always do. At length, by help of his stirrup 
leather, he managed to get Charley up behind 
him. He never could have done it, but his 
mare fought, and bit, and turned when he bid 
her, so he threw the bridle on her neck, and 
could use that terrible left arm of his. Well, 
he came up to the hill and lifted me on, and 
away we went for three or four miles, but we 
knew the mare could not stand it long, so 
Dick got off and walked. When the Blacks 
had pulled the drays' loads to pieces, they 
began to follow us, but Dick never lost heart' 

' Nay, mate,' interrupted Dick, ' once I did; 
I shall never forget it, when I came to put my 
last bullet in, it was too big.' 

' Good heavens,' I exclaimed, ' what did 
you do ? ' 

' Why, I put the bullet in my mouth, and 
kept chawing and chawing it, and threatening 
the black devils all the while until at last 
it was small enough, and then I rammed it 
down, and dropped on my knee and waited 
until they came within twenty yards, and then 
I picked off Captain Jack, the biggest villain 
of them all.' 

Here Dick, being warmed, continued the 
story : ' We could not stop ; we marched all 
evening and all night, and when the two poor 
creturs cried for water, cs they did most of 
the night, as often as I could I filled my boots, 
and gave them to drink. I led the horse, and 
travelled seventy miles without halting for 
more than a minute or two. Toward the last 
they were as helpless as worn-out sheep. I 
tied them on. We had the luck to fall in 
with a party travelling just when the old mare 
was about giving in, and then we must all 
have died for want of water. Charley Anvils 
had eighteen wounds, but, except losing two 
lingers, is none the worse. Poor Jemmy, there, 
will never be fit for anything but a hut-keeper ; 
as for me, I had some scratches nothing to 
hurt ; and the old mare lost an ear. I went 
back afterwards with the police, and squared 
accounts with the Blacks. 

' And so you see, Stranger, the old woman 
thinks I saved her old man's life, although I 
would have done as much for any one ; but I 
believe there are some gentlemen in Sydney 
think I ought to have been hung for what I 
did. Anyhow, since that scrimmage in the 
Bush, they always call me " TWO-HANDED 
DICK." ' 



Publiched at the Office, ffo 16, Wrt'iairton Street North, Strand. Printed lij- BRADBUKT S EVA*, Whitfri?r, London. 



" Familiar in their Mouths as HOUSEHOLD WORDS." SHAKESPEABK. 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 

A WEEKLY JOURNAL. 
CONDUCTED BY CHARLES DICKENS. 



7.] 



SATURDAY, MAY 11, 1850. 



[PRICE 2d. 



THE FIEE BRIGADE OF LONDON. 



EARTH, Air, and Water are necessary con- 
ditions of human life ; but Fire is the first 
great element of civilisation. Fire, the first 
medium between the ' cooking animal ' and 
the wild root and raw flesh-devouring savage ; 
fire, the best, because the most useful of 
servants, and, according to the old proverb, 
the worst, because the most tyrannical of 
masters ; fire, the chief friend of man in' 
creations of nature and of industrial art, yet 
the most potent of all enemies in destruction ; 
fire, the most brilliant and magnificent object 
on the earth, yet the most frightful and ap- 
palling when once it obtains dominion over 
man and man's abodes ; to subdue, and 
render docile to all needs, this devouring 
dragon, and bend his splendid crests, not only 
to ' boil the pot ' but to lick the dust before 
the feet of Science, this is one of the greatest 
triumphs of mankind, the results of which are 
every year more and more stupendous. 

But, amidst all our mastery, we are never 
permitted to forget that this illustrious slave 
has neither abandoned nor abated one jot of 
his original nature. Of this we are but too 
constantly reminded. Not to speak of light- 
ning and volcanic eruptions, the weekly record 
of colliery and other mine explosions, of steam- 
boat explosions, the burning of ships, and the 
dismal transformation to a heap of ashes of 
valuable warehouses, costly public edifices, or 
private houses, with 'dreadful loss of life,' 
need but the slightest mention to excite a 
thrill of alarm, or some passing thought of 
caution in the mind of every person holding 
the smallest stake in the social community. 

To meet this sudden emergency, therefore, 
and to restore the balance of power, or, rather, 
to put down the mutiny of this powerful slave, 
and reduce him to his habitual subserviency, 
we have the Fire Brigade, divided into four 
sections, and having nineteen stations in the 
most central quarters of the metropolis. This 
includes two ' mighty engines' floating on the 
Thames. 

' Of all the rallying words/ says a writer in 
Chai-les Knight's " London," ' whereby multitudes 
are gathered together, and their energies impelled 
forcibly to one point, that of "Fire!" is, perhaps, 
the most startling and the most irresistible. It 
levels all distinctions ; it sets at nought sleep, and 



meals, and occupations, and amusements ; it turns 
night into day, and Sunday into a " working-day;" 
it gives double strength to those who are blessed 
with any energy, and paralyses those who have 
none ; it brings into prominent notice, and con- 
verts into objects of sympathy, those who were 
before little thought of, or who were, perhaps, 
despised ; it gives to the dwellers in a whole huge 
neighbourhood the unity of one family.' 

But even while we are trimming our mid- 
night lamp to write this paper, the cry of 
' Fire ! ' suddenly resounds from a distant 
street. The heavy boots of a policeman clatter 
along beneath our window. The cry is re- 
peated by several voices, and more feet are 
heard hurrying along. The fire is in a squalid 
court, leading into a mews which runs close 
to the backs of the houses of one side of a 
great square. We hastily struggle into an 
overcoat, snatch up a hat, and issue forth to 
follow the alarming cry. 

The tumult sounds in the court ; the cry of 
' Fire ! ' is wildly repeated in a woman's voice 
from one of the windows of the mews ; now 
from another window ! now from several. 
' Fire ! fire ! ' cry voices of many passengers in 
streets, and away scamper the policemen to 
the nearest stations of the Fire Brigade, pass- 
ing the word to other policemen as they run, 
till all the police force in the neighbour- 
hood are clattering along the pavement, some 
towards the scene of the fire, but most of them 
either towards an engine-station, to one of the 
Fire-escapes of the Royal Society, or to pass 
the word to the policeman whose duty it will 
be to run to the engine-station next beyond. 
By this means of passing the word, somebody 
arrives at the gates of the Chief Office of the 
Fire Brigade, in Watling Street, and, seizing 
the handle of the night-bell, pulls away at it 
with the vigour which such events always call 
forth. 

The fireman on duty for the night, imme- 
diately opens the gate, and receives the intelli- 
gence, cutting short all loquacity as much as 
possible, and eliciting the spot where the fire 
has broken out, and the extent to which it was 
raging when the person left. The fireman 
then runs to a bell-handle, which he pulls ; 
and applying his ear to the mouth-piece of a 
pipe, hears a voice ask, ' What is it 1 ' (The 
fireman hears his own voice sound as if at a 
great distance ; while the voice actually re- 



VOL. I. 



146 



HOUSEHOLD WOEDS. 



[Conducted by 



mote sounds close in the mouth-piece, with a 
strange preternatural effect.) The bell-wire 
reaches up to the Superintendent's bedside ; 
and the bell being rang, Mr. Braidwood raises 
himself on one elbow, and applying his mouth 
to the other end of the tube, answers, and 
gives orders. A few words of dialogue con- 
ducted in this way, suffice. Up jumps Mr. 
Braidwood crosses the passage to his dress- 
ing-room (armoury, we ought rather to call 
it), and in three minutes is attired in the thick 
cloth frock-coat, boots, and helmet of the 
Fire Brigade, fixing buttons and straps as he 
descends the stairs. 

Meanwhile all the men have been equally 
active below. No sooner lias the fireman 
aroused Mr. Braidwood, than he rings the 
bell of the foreman, the engineer, and the 
' siuglemen's bell ' which means the bell of 
the division where the four unmarried men 
sleep. He then runs out to the stables, call- 
ing the ' charioteer ' by the way, and two 
other firemen lodging close by ; after which 
he returns to assist in harnessing the horses. 

Owing to this simultaneous action, each 
according to his special and general duties, by 
the time Mr. Braidwood reaches the bottom 
of the stairs, the engine has been got out, 
and put in working order. All its usual 
furniture, implements, and tools are placed 
within, or packed about it. Short scaling- 
ladders, made to fit into each other, are at- 
tached to the sides ; six lengths of hose ; branch- 
pipes, director-pipes, spare nozzle, suction- 
pipes, goose-neck, dogs'-tails (the first to deliver 
water into the engine ; the second are iron 
wrenches), canvas sheet, with rope handles 
round the edge (to catch people who will 
boldly jump out of window), clam-board (to 
prevent water from plug flowing madly away), 
portable cistern, strips of sheep-skin (to mend 
bursting hose), balls of cord, flat rose, escape- 
chaiu, escape-ropes, mattock, saw, shovel, pole- 
axe, boat-hook, crow-bar (such a fellow !) to 
burst through doors or walls, or break up 
pavement ; instruments for opening fire-plugs, 
and keys for turning stop-cocks of water- 
mains, &c. 

All being ready, the Superintendent mounts 
the engine to the right of the driver, and the 
engineer, foreman, and firemen mount also, 
and range themselves on each side of the long 
red chest at the top, which contains the mul- 
tifarious articles just enumerated. Off they 
start brisk trot canter gallop ! A bright 
red gleam overspreads the sky to the westward. 
The Superintendent knows that the fire in 
the court has reached the mews, and the 
stables are in flames. Full gallop ! 

Along the midnight streets, which are now 
all alive with excited people some having left 
the theatres, others wending homeward from 
supper at a friend's, from dances, or perhaps 
late hours of business in various trades, all 
are running in the direction of the fire ! As the 
engine thunders by them, the gns-lamps 
gleaming on the helmets of the firemen and 



the eager heads of the horses, the people send 
up a loud shout of ' Fi-ire !' and follow pell- 
mell in its wake. 

Arriving at the mews, the Superintendent 
sees exactly all that has happened all that 
must happen all that may happen and all 
that may be prevented. The court is doomed 
to utter ruin and ashes ; so is the mews. Two 
of the larger stables are on fire, and the 
flames are now devouring a loft full of hay 
and straw. But in doing this, their luminous 
tongues stretch far beyond, seeking fresh food 
when this is gone. The wind too ! the fatal 
wind, sets in the direction of the square ! 
The flames are straggling, and leaping, and 
striving with all their might to reach the 
back premises of the houses on this side of 
the square ; and reach it they will, if this 
wind continues ! 

Meanwhile, two of the Fire Brigade 
engines from stations nearer at hand than 
that of the Chief Office, are already here, and 
hard at work. A fourth engine arrives from 
the Chief Office close upon the wheels of the 
first and now a fifth comes thundering up 
the mews. The Superintendent taking com- 
mand of the whole, and having ascertained 
that all the inmates of the court and mews 
have been got out, gives orders for three of 
the engines to continue their efforts to over- 
come the fire, and at any rate to prevent it 
spreading to the hoiises in the square on each 
side of the one which is now so imminently 
threatened. He then directs his own engine 
and one other to he di*iven round to ~the 
front of the house in the square, so as to 
attack the enemy both in front and rear at 
the same time. The flames have just reached 
it not a moment is to be lost ! As he drives 
off, innumerable cries and exhortations seek 
to arrest his progress, and to make him alter 
his intentions. Several voices, louder and 
more excited than all the rest, vociferating 
something about ' saving her life ' caitse 
him to pause, and prepare to turn, till, 
amidst the confusion, he contrives to elicit 
the fact that a stable cat has been unable to 
escape, and has darted out upon the burning 
roof of a loft and, also, that Mrs. Jessikin's 
laundry but he listens no further, and 
gallops his engine round to the front of the 
house in the square, followed by shouts of 
excitement and. several yells. 

The Fire-escape ladders of the Royal 
Society have already arrived here in front. 
All the inmates have been got out by the 
door at least it is said that all are out, by 
those white figures with faces as white, who, 
looking round them, really see nothing dis- 
tinctly and know nothing as it is having 

been awoke by the cries of ' Fire,' and not 
being quite sure if all this mad hubbub of 
people, flames, voices, and water-spouts, may 
not be some horrible nightmare vision. 

The water-plugs have been drawn, and the 
gutters are all flooded. The gully-hole is 
covered a dam-board arrests the stream and 



Chavles Dickens.] 



THE FIRE BRIGADE OF LONDON. 



147 



gives depth the portable cistern is quickly 
rated the suction-pipes of the engines, being 
placed in it, both of them are got into position. 
The flames have reached the back of the 
house ; their points are just seen rising above 
the roof ! A rush of people seize on the 
long pump-levers, all mad to work the 
engines. The foreman rapidly selects ten 
for each side sets them to work and then, 
one at a time, takes down their names in a 
book for the purpose, so that they may be 
paid a shilling an hour those who choose to 
accept it. But a hundred volunteer to work 
they don't want the shilling they want to 
pump. ' Let me pump ! ' ' I 'm the one to 
pump ! ' ' Do you want any more to pump 1 ' 
resound on all sides from men of all classes, 
while the crowd press forward, and can 
scarcely be got to leave room enough for the 
engines to be worked and they would not, 
but for the man with the director-pipe, who 
soon makes a watery circle around him. The 
fortunate volunteers at the levers now begin 
to pump rrvniy with a fury that seems per- 
fectly frantic. The Superintendent, who has 
had many a fine-engine disabled dnring the 
first five minutes of this poptilar furor, insists 
upon their ardour being restrained ; and with 
no little difficulty succeeds in getting his 
pumping done a degree less madly. Who, 
that did not know them, would believe that 
these outrageous pumpers were the very 
same people who stood with lack-lustre eyes 
at some tedious operation in trade or work- 
shop, all day long ; or, who sat stolidly 
opposite each other in an omnibus, without 
a word to say, and seeming too diTll for either 
thought or action 1 Look at them now ! 

The wind still blows strongly from the 
blazing stables the flames are rapidly eating 
their way through the house from the back ! 
The two upper stories are already on fire. A 
figure appears at one of the windows, and 
makes signs. All the inmates had NOT been got 
out ! An aged woman a very old and faith- 
ful servant of the family had lingered be- 
hind, vainly endeavouring to pack up some of 
her dear young mistress's clothes and trinkets. 
A prolonged cry bursts from the crowd, 
followed with innumerable pieces of advice 
bawled, hoarsely shouted, or rapidly screamed 
to the Superintendent, and the firemen di- 
recting the nozzle of the hose. 

' Point the nozzle up to the ivindoio ! ' 
' Up to the roof of that room ! ' 
' Smash the windows ! ' 
' The Fire-escape, Mr. Braidwood ! ' 
' Bring the ropes for her I throw up the 
ropes to her ! ' 

' Don't smash the windows ; you'll cut her ! ' 
' She 's gone to jump out at the back ! ' 
' She is lying on the floor ! ' 
' She 's suffocated, Mr. Braidwood ! ' 
' Send up the water, to bring her to her 
senses ! ' 

' She 's burnt to ashes, Mr. Braidwood I 
see her lying all of a red tinder ! ' 



Amidst these vociferations, the Super- 
intendent, having a well-practised denf ear 
for such pieces of advice, has despatched two 
firemen to ascend the stairs (no fireman is 
allowed to enter a burning house alone) while 
two others enter below, and a lengthened 
hose is handed up to them with a boat-hook 
through the front drawing-room window, in 
order to combat the fire at close quarters, 
each one being accompanied by another fire- 
man, in case of one fainting from heat or 
smoke, and meantime to assist in getting out 
furniture from the rooms not yet touched by 
the flames. 

The two foremost firemen have now ascended 
the stairs. One remains on the second-floor 
landing, to watch, and give notice if their 
retreat is likely to be cut off, while the other 
ascends to the upper room where the poor 
old servant had been last seen. The room is 
quite full of smoke. He therefore drops 
down directly with his face almost touching 
the floor (because, as the smoke ascends, he 
thus gets ten or twelve inches of clear space 
and air), and in this way creeps and drags 
himself along till he sees a bundle of some- 
thing struggling about, which he at once 
recognises, seizes, and drags off as quickly as 
possible. Almost exhausted, he meets his 
comrade on the stairs, who instantly giving 
aid, they bring down a little white, smutty, 
huddled-up bundle, Avith a nightcap and arms 
to it ; and as they emerge from the door, are 
greeted with shouts of applause, and roars 
and screams of ' Bravo ! Bravo ! God bless 
'em ! Bravo ! ' from voices of men, and Women, 
and boys. 

The old woman presently comes to herself. 
She holds something in one hand, which she 
had never loosed throughout, though she 
really does not know what it is. 'At all 
events,' says she, ' I Ve saved this / ' 

It is a hearth-broom. 

The two firemen, each bearing a hose, have 
now got a position inside the house one 
standing on the landing-place of the second- 
floor within ten or twelve feet of the flames, 
the other planted in the back drawing-room. 
The first directs his nozzle so that the water 
strikes with the utmost force upon the fire, 
almost in a straight line, dashing it out into 
black spots, and flaws, arid steam, as much by 
the violence of the concussion as the ant- 
agonistic element. The other fireman directs 
his jet of water to oppose the advances of the 
flames from the rafters of the stables behind, 
and the wood-work of the back-premises. 
Both the men are enveloped in a cloud of hot 
steam, so hot as scarcely to be endtujable, and 
causing the perspiration to pour down their 
i'aces as fast as the water runs down the Avails 
from the vigorous ' playing of their pipes.' 

But next door to the right what a long 
succession of drawing-room and dining-room 
chairs issue forth, varied noAV and then with 
a dripping hamper of choice Avine, and the 
sound of cracking bottles ; now, Avith a 



148 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



flattened cradle, now a tea-tray of richly- 
bound books ; now, a turbot-kettle, and then 
more chairs ! 

In the door-way of the house on the left, 
there is a dreadful jam. An abominable, huge 
mahogany table has fixed one of its corners 
into the wall, on one side, and the brass castor 
of one leg into a broken plank of the flooring, 
on the other, just as a Broadwood horizontal- 
grand was coming down the stairs in the 
most massive manner (like a piano conscious 
of Beethoven), with its five bearers. These 
five men with the piano-forte, receiving a 
check in the passage from three men bearing 
boxes and a large clothes-horse, who had them- 
selves received a check by the jam of the 
huge mahogany and its eight or nine excited 
blockheads, the stoppage became perfect, and 
the confusion sheer madness. Some of the 
inmates of this house, who had been wildly 
helping and handing down all sorts of things, 
observing that a stoppage had occurred below, 
and believing they had no more time to spare 
before the flames would penetrate their walls, 
brought baskets to the window, and with 
great energy threw out a quantity of beautiful 
china, glass, and choice chimney ornaments 
down upon the stones below, to be taken care 
of ; also an empty hat-box. 

Above all the tumult, and adding in no 
small degree to the wildness and abrupt 
energies of the' scene, a violent knocking at 
doors in the square is frequently heard, some- 
times by policemen, at other times by excited 
relations suddenly arriving, desperate to give 
their advice, and see it attended to. The bed- 
room windows, in rows on either side, are alive 
with heads, many of them in night-caps, while 
the upper windows of several, apparently 'the 
nurseries,' are crowded with white dolls, 
whose round white nobs are eagerly thrust 
forth. In the windows of the houses, lights 
are seen to move about rapidly from room to 
room, and windows are continually thrown 
up ; a figure looks out wildly then suddenly 
disappears. 

The two firemen who had gained positions 
inside the house, each with his long hose 
supplied from the engine below, had hitherto 
maintained their posts ; the one on the second- 
floor landing having very successfully repelled 
the advance of the fire, the other in the 
back drawing-room having fairly obtained a 
mastery. But a strong gust of wind rising 
again, sets all their previous success at 
nought. The flames again advance ; and all 
their work has to be done over again. 

By this time the two men are nearly ex- 
hausted ; two other firemen are, however, 
close at hand to relieve them. They take 
their places. As the flames advance, the 
engines below are worked with redoubled 
energy by the people, who also relieve each 
other ; but no one will relinquish his place at 
tin- pump-lever, so long as he is able to stand, 
or have one heave up, or one bang down, 
more. Still the flames advance ! they enter 



the house ! the front drawing-room is sud- 
denly illuminated ! a glare of light is re- 
flected from a great looking-glass on one of 
the walls ! A loud shout of excitement re- 
sounds from the crowd while bang ! bang ! 
go the engine-pumps. 

The fireman, who is surrounded by so 
strong a glare of light that he appears all on 
fire, is seen to retreat a few paces towards 
the door. He is presently joined by another 
fireman, who runs to the front drawing-room 
window, out of which he suspends an iron 
chain to secure their escape, in case of need, 
and then returns to his comrade. They rally, 
and each with his brass director-pipe advances 
again within half-a-dozen paces of the blazing 
walls. They are, foot by foot, driven back 
into the front drawing-room. The flames 
follow them, and soon are very close to the 
or-molu frame-work of the great looking- 



Bang ! bang ! go the engines. 

' Save the glass ! ' shout numbers of voices. 

' The ceiling ! the ceiling 's bursting down ! ' 
cry others. 

Bang ! bang ! go the engines. 

' Save the pieces ! ' 

' The door-post 's on fire ! ' 

' Look behind you ! ' 

' The glass ! the glass ! ' 

' Save yourselves ! 

Bang ! bang ! go the engines. 

The Superintendent has sent orders to the 
firemen to give no more attention to the in- 
terior of this house, except with a view to 
prevent the fire spreading to the adjoining 
houses. Consequently, the streams of water 
are now directed to drenching the walls, and 
beating back the flames on either side. The 
great looking-glass, no longer an object of 
special protection, is presently reached by the 
flames ; they coil and cluster round the frame- 
work, which, breaking out into jets of coloured 
fire, gives a splendid magnificence to the design 
of the carving. The crowd jump up and down 
to see, and also from excitement. The flames 
flap about, and point their long luminous 
tongues across the broad plate of the glass, 
which for a moment reflects every object in 
the room, the falling ceiling the firemen in 
their helmets the blazing ruin around ; and 
then, crack ! clash ! clash ! the whole falls, 
a wreck of sharp angles. 

Again a loud shout from the crowd below ! 
not so much of regret as a kind of wild pur- 
poseless joy, which causes them again to leap 
up and down, expecting and (without knowing 
it) hoping the same thing will happen to some 
other glass in the room. Melted lead from the 
roof now runs gleaming down spurting upon 
the helmet of one of the firemen, and then 
running in straggling lines down his thick 
coat ; while a slate falling, as usual, edgeways, 
sticks across the centre-piece of his comrade's 
helmet. Now, with a rattling and loud rumble, 
falls the partition between the front and back 
drawing-rooms, and with it a great part of the 



Charles Dickens.] 



THE FIRE BEIGADE OF LONDON. 



149 



ceiling ! A terrific shout of alarm bursts from 
the crowd. The two firemen are buried in the 
ruins. The whole space is filled with the dense 
smoke and with piles of lath and plaster, and 
brick and blazing wood. 

But see ! a helmet, white with mortar, rises 
from the floor near the window-sill and now 
another ! One after the other, the exhausted 
firemen descend the iron chain, and are caught 
in the arms of the Superintendent and two of 
their comrades below, while loud shouts and 
vociferations of applause burst from the crowd. 

The stable cat, too, from the mews ! See ! 
she has crossed between the burning rafters, 
and leaped into the balcony of the next house, 
with smoking tail and ears. 

The flames have been smothered for a time 
by this fall of the ceiling and partition-wall ; 
the Superintendent has now got seven engines 
round to the front ; he takes advantage of the 
fortunate accident ; the wind, too, has shifted ; 
the seven engines pour torrents of water upon 
the smoking mass and against the walls, and 
thus continue till the most frightful of all 
enemies is thoroughly subdued and reduced 
to blackness and quietude. Most dismal is 
the scene of devastation ; but the enemy is 
at all events laid prostrate and rendered in- 
capable of further mischief. 

Drenched to the skin with cold water, and 
reeking at the same time with perspiration, 
the gallant men of the Fire Brigade return 
to their several quarters. Two of them, how- 
ever, remain on watch with an engine all 
night, a change of clothes and ' a dram ' being 
sent them from the station. 

The present efficient condition of fire-engines, 
as may easily be supposed, has only been the 
result of many years of skilful experiment and 
practical experience. Our ancestors (notwith- 
standing their wisdom) were by no means 
furnished with such means of extinguishing 
fire, although, from the great number of 
wooden buildings, and greater quantity of 
wooden materials employed, to say nothing of 
thatch, they had greater need of them. On 
the other hand, they had not so many scientific 
combustibles among them. Still, the want of 
a proper engine is manifest from what we 
know of their attempts in that way. They 
used squirts, actually nothing but squirts. 
Every alderman was obliged to provide one. 
It will be understood that the squirt was not 
of schoolboy dimensions, but so large as to 
require two men, holding it in their arms be- 
tween them, like a sort of mummy, to dip its 
nose into a bucket, and then, raising it to the 
proper angle, discharge the contents at the 
building on fire. 

The first construction of the fire-engine, 
properly so called, is attributable to a 
German named Hautsch, in 1657, which was 
afterwards improved by the brothers Van 
der Heyden, in 1672. But, though the 
merit of the invention confers all due honour 
on the engineering mind of Germans, it may 
be questioned whether the character of the 



people was ever of a kind to induce the 
working of them with promptitude or effi- 
ciency. So recently as a few years ago, when 
the writer was staying in the town of Bonn, 
intelligence was brought of a fire at Popples- 
dorf, a village about a mile and a quarter 
distant. The town engine was got out by a 
couple of men, with pipes in their mouths, 
and the horse one horse being put to, it 
was trotted off in the most deliberate manner. 
Outside the town gates we overtook a 
number of students and other gentlemen, 
all leisurely sauntering with their pipes 
towards Popplesdorf, never doubting biit 
they would be in ample time before the 
engine had extinguished the fire. And so 
they were, for it was burning nearly half 
the day. Nevertheless, the Prussian Govern- 
ment have been the first to purchase the 
invention of the Steam Fire Engine. Their 
theories in the matter seem perfect ; but to 
put out a fire with promptitude cannot be 
done even by a Steam Fire Engine without 
a little human activity. 

The contrast of our vivacity in these 
matters is very striking, and in no case 
more so than when some mischievous idiot 
gives a false alarm (an atrocity which we 
believe is not often committed), or when 
some extraordinary meteorological pheno- 
menon induces the mistake. We find two 
extraordinary instances of this recorded in 
Knight's ' London.' 

' On the first of these, twelve engines and seventy- 
four brigade men were kept in constant motion 
from eleven in tlie evening till six the next morning, 
in endeavouring to search out what appeared to 
be a large conflagration ; some of the engines 
reached Hampstead, and others Kilburn, before it 
was found that the glare was the effect of the 
"northern lights." On the other occasion, a 
crimson glare of light arose at the north-east part 
of the horizon, at about eight o'clock in the 
evening, seemingly caused by a fierce conflagra- 
tion ; and the resemblance was increased by what 
appeared to be clouds of smoke rising up after 
the glare, and breaking and rolling away beneath 
it. Thirteen engines and a large body of men 
went in search of the supposed fire, and did not 
detect their error till they had proceeded far to 
the north-east.' 

The statistics of London fires are very 
interesting, and much may be learned from 
them, not only as matter of anxious informa- 
tion, but of salutary warning. 

The total number of fires in London in the 
past year, was 838. Of these, 28 were utterly 
destructive fires ; the number of lives lost 
being 26. Seriously damaged, 228 ; slightly 
damaged, 582. 

Of chimneys on fire there were 89 ; and 
there were 76 false alarms not mischievous, 
but from error or panic. 

The number of calls on the fire-office and 
other aids amounted to 1003. 

In the above 838 fires, the number of in- 
surances (ascertained) were 368 ; those 



1/50 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



which insured on the building only, were 
1(53; those which insured oil the contents 
only, were 72 ; and the number of uninsured 

':'.."). 

Of the 26 lives lost, 13 were from the ig- 
nition of bed-furniture or -wearing apparel; 
explosion of tire-works, ; and 8 from 
inability to escape out of burning houses. 

An examination of the statistics of fires in 
the Metropolis during sixteen years, i.e. from 
1833 to 1848 (which document was obligingly 
laid before ns by Mr. Braid wood), has put us 
iu possession of a great muss of very curious 
and instructive information, from which we 
extract the following : 

Apothecaries and dealers in drugs 36 

Ikiker* 244 

booksellers, binders, and stationers 137 

Of these latter, 96 burnt gas ; and the fires 
caused by gas amounted to 28. 

Cabinet-makers . . . .156 
Carpenters and workers in wood . 434 
Churches 33 

Of these last-named, 3 were totally de- 
stroyed, and 10 much damaged ; the rest 
slightly, or mere alarms. Of the cause of the 
fires, 8 were from the stoves, Hues, &c., and 2 
from lightning. 

Drapers, woollen and linen . .254 

Of these, 105 were much damaged ; 239 
burnt gas ; and the cause of 140 of these fires 
was carelessness or accident with the gas. 

Fire-Preventive Company . . 1 

The cause of this was an experiment with 
some 'fire-proof plaster,' which ignited in a 
must unexpected and insubordinate manner, 
and caused great damage. 

Fire-work Makers ... 49 

The cause of these fires, all of which did 
great damage, was from the nature of the 
trade ; from the smoking of tobacco ; from 
boys playing with fire ; and from the reckless 
trick of a lighted squib or cracker being 
thrown into the shop-window. 

Gas-works 37 

From the great care taken, and ready 
means of prevention, only 9 of these were 
much injured, and none totally destroyed. 
Grocers . . . . .120 
Of these, 109 burnt gas ; and 26 of the 
fires are attributable to carelessness or acci- 
dent with the gas. 

Gunpowder-sellers ... 1 
Notice the result of a full consciousness of 
the danger, and proportionate care. Only 
one lire ! 

Lodgings . . . . .868 

Of the above number, 368 were found to 
have been caused by the taking fire of 
curtains, linen airing, &c. Some of the rest 
were caused by hunting fleas, &c. 



Lucifer-match-makcrs . , . 101 
Lunatic asylums .... 2 

Observe the great care in these asylums. 
All the asylums for lunatics furnishing only 
two fires in sixteen years ! 



Printers and Engravers 
Private houses 



72 
3352 



Of the above, the immense number of 1302 
were discovered to have been caused by the 
taking fire of curtains, dresses, airing linen, &c. 

Sale-shops and offices . . . 526 
Of these, 379 burnt gas ; and the fires 
caused by gas were 129. 

Ships 82 

Caused by stores, flues, cookkig, igniting of 
cargo, smoking tobacco, &c. 

Stables 102 

Caused by candles, lucifers, smoking tobacco, 
intoxication, &c. 

Tailors 81 

Seventeen of the above were caused by 
gas ; 13 by candles ; and some by smoking 
tobacco. 

Theatres 20 

Of the above number, 8 were caused by 
gas ; some others by smoking tobacco, and 
the taking fire of curtains, dresses, &c. 
Tobacconists . . . .43 

Of the above, 6 were caused by gas ; 6 by 
lucifer-matches ; others by curtains, smoking 
tobacco, by a cut, and by ruts. A word more 
of these incendiaries presently. 

Victuallers 5-12 

Of the above, there were 21 totally de- 
stroyed ; 167 much damaged, and 354 slightly. 
Of the causes, 83 were from the flues ; 73, 
curtains, dresses, &c. ; 65, gas ; 36, smoking 
tobacco ; 35, a caudle. The remainder comes 
under the various heads of lucifers, hot 
cinders, intoxication, children playing with 
tire, a spark, and a monkey. 

Besides this ' monkey,' we have had occasion 
to mention several other ' sparks,' concerning 
whom some passing explanation may be 
needed. Having noticed the _ word ' cat,' 
occurring several times in the list of annual 
causes of fire, ' Yes,' replied Mr. Braidwood, 
' we often have a cat.' It appears that the cat 
sometimes upsets the clothes-horse with things 
airing ; or, perhaps, in creeping under the 
clothes to get inside the fender, drags some of 
them with her on her back. The fire caused 
by the monkey was attributable to some 
prank of his meaning no harm, perhaps, but 
not much caring about that. The incendi- 
arism of the rats was undoubtedly 
innocently by their investigation of a box of 
lucifers, which included a trial if the matches 
were good to eat. Their teeth exploded them 
a feat very easily performed. 

Of carelessness with gas in shoj 
warehouses, or with caudles near bedroom 



Charles Dickens] 



POETRY IN THE BYE-WAYS. 



151 



curtains, muslin dresses, or linen airing before 
the fire, we need not speak, as the dangers are 
too obvious by the results ; nor of carelessness 
with lucifer-matches ; nor the very common 
practice of raking out the fire at night "from 
the grate (where it would be safe) down upon 
the hearth, and leaving the hot embers, which 
perhaps ignite by the air of the closing door, 
as the careful person retires to bed. Care- 
lessness with a cigar or pipe is also an obvious 
cause. Working men often put their pipes, 
half-extinguished, or alive at the bottom of 
the bowl, iato their jacket-pocket at night; 
and then hang up the jacket, and go to bed. 
Children, also, being left alone, near a fire, 
may generally be expected to play with fire, 
either because it is beautiful, or because the 
play is interdicted. 

With respect to 'sparks,' that a house 
should take fire, had always been regarded by 
us with no small degree of scepticism. A 
gentleman of our acquaintance carried his 
disbelief much further. Sitting with a party 
of sporting friends round a winter's fire, and 
these dangers being the subject of conversa- 
tion, he offered to empty the whole contents 
of the grate on the carpet in the middle of 
the room. he to pay all expenses if the house 
took fire ; his opponent simply to pay for the 
carpet and the charred floor. They were all 
to sit round, and watch the result. It was 
agreed. ' Now,' said a friend, ' I will bet you 
ten to one this house will take fire, provided 
we all go out of the room, lock the door, and 
leave the house.' The other would not ven- 
ture on this. 

Mr. Braidwood's speculation on the ques- 
tion of sparks, in reply to our doubts, is very 
curious and practical. He estimated the 
number of houses in London at 300,000. 
Allowing two domestic fires to each house, we 
have 600,000 in the day ; and these multiplied 
by 7, give 4,200,000 hi a week. That one 
spark, therefore, from 4,200,000 fires should 
fly out upon some materials easy to ignite, 
once in a week, is far from difficult to credit ; 
and this would fully bear out the number on 
the list that are declared to have occurred 
from this cause. 

The number of fires and alarms of fire 
that occurred in London during the fifteen 
years ending in 1847, present a continual 
increase. In 1833 they amounted to 458 ; in 
1834, to 482 ; and so on, down to 1847, when 
they amounted to 836. This gives a total of 
9662 fires during the fifteen years. The 
average of this is 644. We next find that 
in 1848 the number of fires amounted to 805 ; 
showing an increase beyond the previous 
year of 161. In 1849 the number amounted 
to 838, being an increase of 33 beyond the pre- 
vious year. 

How are we to reconcile this increase with 
the extraordinary efficiency of the Fire- 
Brigade, and the improvements in measure! 
of precaution 1 Partly by the regular in- 
crease in the numbers of houses. But Mr 



Braidwood frankly declares that this does 
lot meet the increase of fires and alarms of 
fire that reach the Office. We can only 
account for it, therefore, by the great in- 
crease of scientific combustibles, not merely 

n our shops, but in our domestic arrange- 
ments especially gas, and lucifer-matches 
and yet more to the fact that, in former years, 
nany slight fires caused no alarm to be given, 
while now the arrangements are so complete, 
;hat probably almost every slight alarm of fire 

liat occurs is carried to the Office, and duly 
recorded. 

With respect to Fire-Escapes ; precautions 
against fire, that should be adopted in houses; 
arrangements to meet the accident ; and 

;he best means of extinguishing fires (par- 

icularly with reference to Mr. Phillips' Fire- 
Aunihilator, which possesses an undoubted 

ower over flames), we cannot now afford the 
space their importance merits ; but we shall 

oear them in mind for a future number. 



POETEY IN THE BYE-WAYS. 

EVERY book-hunter, whose connection with 
paper and print has more of individuality 
than of fashion in it must in his time 
have met with scores of small volumes of 
rhyme forced out with a care and pains of 
which the heart aches to think, prefaced 
with the bad taste of immoderate deprecation 
on the part of the author, or with the worse 
appeal of extravagant commendation on the 
part of the patron none of which shall merit 
a place on the shelf by the side of Crabbe, or 
Wordsworth, or Burns none of which can 
be denied the possession of some sparks and 
breathings of true poetry. 

Sometimes, however, it must be owned, 
that the difficulties under which the rhyme- 
ster has laboured, are the best nay the sole 
evidences of his genius. In the verses of 
Phillis Wheatly, the negro girl, for instance, 
there is not a line that is not the stalest of 
the stale not an image that is not the most 
second-hand of the second-hand. Yet, that 
sixty years since, a woman of her condemned 
colour and oppressed race in America, too, 
should find spirits to sing, and power to 
attract an audience, in that fact was a 
poem of no common order. 

Years ago, there passed through the writer's 
hand a small collection of verse if verse it 
might be called in quality, the most dreary 
and antipathetic, possible sectarian hymns, 
full of phrases, the intimate sense of which can 
never have pierced to the mind of their 
maker. This was a poor creature in a hos- 
pital, who had been found on a harsh 
January night, frozen into the kennel where 
she had fallen, and who paid for that night's 
lodging with a lingering death of cruelly long 
duration. Her vital powers gradually re- 
tired one by one. For many years she was 
unable to move a limb ; latterly could scarcely 
speak audibly, or take barely sufficient food 



152 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conclunted by 



to kep life in the half-dead body. But 
these dismal hymns were her receipt for 
occupation and cheerfulness. 'When I can- 
not sleep,' she would say, in a dialect of her 
own peculiar pattern, 'I mew.' There was 
poetiy in the origin of these ' meicinffs,' 1 though 
none in the dark and narrow stan/as themselves. 
From the above illustrations it may be 
gathered that much of the bye-way poetry 
with which we shall deal, has never been j 



One poet, to pay for his mother's funeral, must 
needs write a ' Rasselas ' another, under con- 
straint less instant, but perhaps not less harass- 
ing, shall gladden England for ever, by calling 
up Olivia and Sophia in the hayfield, and 
Farmer Flamborouytts Christinas party, and 
the Vicar slyly making an end of 'the wash 
for the face,' which his innocently-worldly 
daughters were brewing. But evidence, like 
tliis does nothing to contradict our wisdom. 



to draw 



11 [Kill 



adventure 
power 



and experience 
to handle the 



promoted to the honours and heartaches of j Had Johnson been compelled to compose 
paper and print nor even taken the nianu- his superb style, at a moment's warning 
script forms of ' longs and shorts ' as decidedly by the coffin-side ; had Goldsmith possesse 
as did the imaginative instincts of Black no treasury of 
Phillis, or the long-tried patience of the 

sufferer in the Ward. We may and shall 

have to do with authorship in humble life, 
but less, perchance, than those will expect, 
who have considered our subject merely 
from the outside of the bookseller's window, 
or from the sum total of a rhymester's sub- 
scription list drawing thence the charming 



pen already learned neither Imlac nor Mrs. 
Primrose would have been alive at this 
day. Without preparation, training, crafts- 
manship, there is little literature there 
is no art. Ballads may grow up but not 
epics be produced, nor live-act plays be 
constructed, nor tales be woven, nor even 



inference that A. B. or C. is a poet, because he ; a complete lyric be finished. It has fallen to 
has found a publisher and extorted a public ! j the lot of every one of us too often and again, 
Too seldom has a Capel Lofft, or a Southey, I to see hearts fevered, hopes wrecked, life em- 
or a More, while trying to bring forward a i bittered, and Death (or Madness) courted, 
Bloomfield, or a Mary Colling, or an un- because men cannot and their friends will 
grateful Bristol Milkwoman, whose facility in not sufficiently fix their minds on this plain 

^/v*nif*<ini-ti- Vinci otT,3of w1 +li iim Ar*T*cn f\ ovorl \\ r\TXT I t.Vlltll VuMMUlflA inplin.Mt.irmS UTP. T^filTlfttllflJlV 



and that meagre and second-hand manufac- Scott is king or a Siddons is queen, is paved 
ture, produced with a desire for fame, or under with gold every boy who can cut paragraphs 
hopes of gain, which challenges competition into lengths fancies that he is a Scott and 
with the efforts of men more favourably cir- every girl with a strong voice who loves play- 
cumstanced, and which goes forth as virtually going, that she is a Lady Macbeth, a Cleopatra, 
a solicitation for alms. On the one side (to a Queen Constance, who can shake ' the play- 
take the first instance which occurs) we shall ' house down.' 

find something like the Gondolier songs of j At all events, in such mistakes as the 
Venice, patched up St. Mark and the Moon above, followed by their sure consequence 



know how ! out of bits of plays and bits of 
verses and bits of opera-tunes, by old men and 
girls and boys, while a sprightly people ply 



of misery, lives not the Poetry which we are 
seeking. In its place we too often encounter 
a dismal wax-work show a creature with 



their picturesque trade under an Italian sky, glassy eyes and hot red cheeks, and a stiff 



every image round them to inspire and j arm, in a noble attitude perhaps, b 
irage a sense of tune, and which, after beckoning in one and the same direci 



with 

encourage 

a while, get so rubbed into shape so rounded 
and changed, so decked with canal-wit, so 
filled with local names and local words, that 
a College of Anatomists should be puzzled to 
' resolve them into their primary elements.' 
On the other side, we may cite as example any 
of the myriad verses anxiously strung together 
by the hectic and over-wrought operative, by 
the light of his candle, whose very burning 
would be reprehensible as an extravagance, 
could not the ware fabricated at midnight find 
an immediate market. The first is an utterance 
the second a manufacture. The first speaks 
with the breath of a peculiar life, and weans 
the colour of a peculiar scenery the second is 
an exercise produced under circumstances, 
which, however stimulating to energy, are but 
discouraging to Fancy. We may be told, it is 
true, that many of our dearest ' household 
words ' have been wrung from our greatest 
men, by the pressure of the cruellest exigency. 



but always 
irection, not 

the living, breathing, hoping, fearing being, 
human like ourselves, yet better than our- 
selves, with whom we can sit down at meat, 
and kneel down at prayer not the fragment of 
Heaven upon Earth to encounter and make 
acquaintance with, which redeems us from 
utter heartlessness or discomfort. The Poetry 
of appreciation when creation is impossible 
the Poetry of daily life, as sung in deeds of 
unselfishness, delicacy, triumph over tempta- 
tions consideration of the weak (let the 
brute-force theorists ' sound their trumpets 
and beat their drums ' as loudly as if upon 
themselves devolved the whole orchestral and 
choral noise of ' Judas Maccabeus ') and com- 
panionship with the humble the Poetry of 
a healthy, not a maudlin love for Nature 
these are to be sought out and gathered up. 
In turn we may sit on the bleak hill-sides of 
Scotland with the shepherd-rhymesters of 
the north or wander down the alleys of 



Charles Dickens.] 



THE MINER'S DAUGHTERS. 



153 



English manufacturing towns, to see what 
fairly-patterned verse may have been woven 
there. Or in a green lane we may open such a 
book as good Mr. Barnes has published in the 
Dorsetshire dialect, to show how ingeniously 
music may be got out of a corrupt local English 
phraseology. Or we may cross the Channel 
to hear Jasmin, the Provencal hairdresser, re- 
cite ; or to see Reboul, the Nismes baker, 
bring out an ode hot from his oven. But 
our business will be more with deeds than 
with words, more with genuine thoughts and 
impulses in action, than with second-hand 
fancies, faded as the coarse artificial flowers 
of a milliner's shop in Leicester Square, when 
the season is over, which no passer-by, ' gentle 
or simple,' can think of taking home. 

We may have to do, moreover, with the 
poetry of association as conveyed in those fes- 
tivals of joy or of sorrow which mark the pro- 
gress of life and the peculiarity of manners. 
The nasal, droning burial psalm that may still 
be heard in remote places of England, winding 
up a hollow lane or across the corner of a 
moor, as some little congregation of friends 
or neighbours bears a dead body home, the 
twilight vesper service (intrinsically tuneless 
and unmusical) of the Sisters of Charity, who 
come back to their Beguinage after a long day 
of hard work, hard prayers, hard consolation, 
and hard gossip among the poor ; do these 
things say nothing to us ? Is nothing told us 
by the cry of sailors as they warp the ship 
into dock at the close of a wild and wintry 
voyage ? by the serenade-music with which 
the impulsive people of a German town wel- 
come some favourite poet or artist ? Are 
these not all, more or less, poems conveying 
to us something of feeling, and life, and 
youth, be we ever so soured, ever so seared 
by perpetual contact with coarser and harsher 
contemplations and employments 1 May we 
not call up such pictures, may we not soothe 
oiirselves with such harmonies, may we not 
lay them to our souls as evidences ? We 
must not use them by way of unction flatter- 
ing us into the sentimental 'Waiting Gentle- 
woman's notion that crime is to disappear 
like a scene in a pantomime, and thieves all 
of a sudden to grow as orderly as beadles ; 
but we may apply them as alteratives when we 
are in danger of being wearied into doggedness, 
by the man who enacts fits at the street 
corner or by the begging-letter Impostor 
who wrings crowns out of kind-hearted and 
economical souls, who must for their cre- 
dulity'^ sake forego their holiday or by the 
Pole with his anti-Russian pamphlet, who 
makes his way in, to abase himself by fawn- 
ing and genteel mendicity, under pretext of 
being a friend's friend or by the sight of such 
a pillar of stone as the woman Avho went into 
the confectioner's shop to buy gingerbread, 
'because they were going to see our Sally 
hanged, and should be hungry !' 

Yes : if sights and provocations and dis- 
couragements like these of the earth, earthy 



force themselves into our highways, all the 
more need is it that all celestial appearances 
and sounds in our bye-ways, be they over so few, 
faint, and far, should be collected, and set down. 
Be they ever so rich, they will not be rich 
enough to justify an over-complacent or supine 
spirit still less to tempt the healthily-minded 
to confound dross with pure gold : be they ever 
so meagre, they ought to keep alive in us the 
faith, that no portion of the earth is so barren, 
that Truth or Beauty, and Love, and Patience, 
and Honour, cannot grow therein. 



THE MINER'S DAUGHTERS. A TALE 
OF THE PEAK. 

IN THREE CHAPTERS. 



CHAPTER II. MILL LIFK. 

WE must pass over the painful and dreadful 
particulars of that night, and of a long time to 
come ; the maniacal rage of the father, the 
shattered heart and feelings of the mother, 
the dreadful state of the two remaining 
children, to whom their brother was one of 
the most precious objects in a world which, 
like theirs, contained so few. One moment to 
have seen him full of life, and fun, and bravado, 
and almost the next a lifeless a,nd battered 
corpse, was something too strange and terrible 
to be soon surmounted. But this was wofully 
aggravated by the cruel anger of their father, 
who continued to regard them as guilty of 
the death of his favourite boy. He seemed 
to take no pleasure in them. He never spoke 
to them but to scold them. He drank more 
deeply than ever, and came home later ; and 
when there, was sullen and morose. When 
their mother, who suffered severely, but still 
plodded on with all her duties, said, ' David, 
they are thy children too : ' he would reply 
savagely, ' Hod thy tongue ! What 's a pack 
o' wenches to my lad 1 ' 

What tended to render the miner more 
hard towards the two girls was a circumstance 
which would have awakened a better feel- 
ing in a softer father's heart. Nancy, the 
younger girl, since the dreadful catastrophe, 
bad seemed to grow gradually dull and de- 
fective in her intellect, she had a slow and 
somewhat idiotic air and manner. Her 
mother perceived it, and was struck with con- 
sternation by it. She tried to rouse her, but 
in vain. She could not perform her ordinary 
reading and spelling lessons. She seemed to 
have forgotten what was already learned. 
She appeared to have a difficulty in moving 
her legs, and carried her hands as if she had 
suffered a partial paralysis. Jane, her sister, 
was dreadfully distressed at it, and she and 
her mother wept many bitter tears over her. 
One day, in the following spring, they took 
her with them to Ashford, and consulted the 
doctor there. On examining her, and hearing 
fully what had taken place at the time of the 
brother's death the fact of which he well 
knew, for it, of course, was known to the 



154 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



whole country round he shook his head, and 
said he was afraid they must make up their 
minds to a sud case ; that the terrors of that 
night had affected her brain, and that, through 
it, the whole nervous system had suffered, and 
wns continuing to suffer the most melancholy 
effects. The only thing, he thought, in her 
favour was her youth ; and added, that it 
might have a good effect if they could leave 
the place where she had undergone such a 
terrible shock. But whether they did or not, 
kindness and soothing attentions to her would 
do more than anything else. 

Mrs. Dunster and little Jane returned home 
with heavy hearts. The doctor's opinion had 
only confirmed their fears ; for Jane, though 
but a child, had quickness and affection for 
her sister enough to make her comprehend 
the awful nature of poor Nancy's condition. 
Mrs. Dunster told her husband the doctor's 
words, for she thought they would awaken 
some tenderness in him towards the unfortu- 
nate child. But he said, ' That 's just what I 
expected. Hou '11 grow soft, and then who 's 
to maintain her 1 Hou mun goo to th' work- 
house.' 

With that he took his maundrel and went 
off to Ms work. Instead of softening his 
nature, this intelligence seemed only to harden 
and brutalise it. He drank now more and 
more. But all that slimmer the mother and 
Jane did all that they could think of to 
restore the health and mind of poor Nancy. 
Every morning, when the father was gone to 
work, Jane went to a spring up in the op- 
posite wood, famed for the coldness and sweet- 
ness of its waters. On this account the pro- 
prietors of the mills at Cressbrook had put 
down a large trough there under the spreading 
trees, and the people fetched the water even 
from the village. Hence Jane brought, at 
many journeys, this cold, delicious water to 
bathe her sister in ; they then rubbed her 
warm with cloths, and gave her new milk for 
her breakfast. Her lessons were not left off, 
lest the mind should sink into fatuity, but 
were made as easy as possible. Jane continued 
to talk to her, and laugh with her, as if nothing 
was amiss, though she did it with a heavy 
h>;irt, and she engaged her to weed and hoe 
with her in their little garden. She did not 
dare to lead her far out into the valley, lest it 
might excite her memory of the past fearful 
time, but she gathered her flowers, and con- 
tinued to play with her at all their accustomed 
sports, of building houses with pieces of pots 
and stones, and imagining gardens and parks. 
The anxious mother, when some weeks were 
gone by, fancied that there was really some 
improvement. The cold-bathing seemed to 
have strengthened the system : the poor child 
w; Iked, and bore herself with more freedom 
and firmness. She became ardently fond of 
being with her sister, and attentive to her 
directions. But there was a dull cloud over 
her intellect, and a vacancy in her eyes and 
features. She tvae ijii'n-t, easily pleased, but 



seemed to have little volition of her own. 
Mrs. Duuster thought if they could but get 
her away from that spot, it might rouse her 
mind from its sleep. But perhaps the sleep 
was better than the awaking might be ; how- 
ever, the removal came, though in a more 
awful way than was looked for. The miner, 
who had continued to drink more and more, 
and seomed to have almost estranged himself 
from his home, staying away in his drinking 
bouts for a week or more together, was one day 
blasting a rock in the mine, and being half- 
stupified with beer, did not take care to get 
out of the way of the explosion, was struck 
with a piece of the flying stone, and killed on 
the spot. 

The poor widow and her children were now 
obliged to remove from under Wardlow-Cop. 
The place had been a sad one to her : the 
death of her husband, though he had been 
latterly far from a good one, and had left her 
with the children in deep poverty, was a fresh 
source of severe grief to her. Her religious 
mind was struck down with a weight of 
melancholy by the reflection of the life he 
had led, and the sudden way in which he had 
been summoned into eternity. When she 
looked forward, what a prospect was there for 
her children ! it was impossible for her to 
maintain them from her small earnings, and 
as to Nancy, would she ever be able to earn 
her own bread, and protect herself in the 
world ? 

It was amid such reflections that Mrs. 
Dunster quitted this deep, solitary, and, to 
her, fatal vallej 7 , and took up her abode in the 

lage of Cressbrook. Here she had one 
small room, and by her own labours, and 
some aid from the parish, she managed to 
support herself and the children. For seven 
years she continued her laborious life, assisted 
by the labour of the two daughters, who also 
seamed stockings, and in the evenings were 
instructed by her. Her girls were now 
thirteen and fifteen years of age : Jane was a 
tall and very pretty girl of her years ; she was 
active, industrious, and sweet-tempered : her 
constant affection for poor Nancy was some- 
thing as admirable as it was singular. Nancy 
had now confirmed good health, but it had 
affected her mother to perceive that, since the 
catastrophe of her brother's death, and the 
cruel treatment of her father at that time, she 
had never grown in any degree as she ought ; 
she was short, stout, and of a pale and very 
plain countenance. It could not be now said 
that she was deficient in mind, but she was 
slow in its operations. She displayed, indeed, 
a more than ordinary depth of reflection, 
and a shrewdness of observation, but the 
evidences of this came forth iu a very quiet 
way, and were observable only to her mother 
and sister. To all besides she was extremely 
reserved : she was timid to excess, and shrunk 
from public notice into the society of her 
mother and sister. Th< rt W.MS a feeling 
abroad in the neighbourhood that she waa 



Charles liickens. 



THE MINER'S DAUGHTEES. 



155 



' not quite right,' but the few who were more 
discerning, shook their heads, and observed, 
' Eight she was not, poor thing, but it was 
not want of sense ; she had more of that than 
most.' 

And such was the opinion of her mother 
and sister. They perceived that Nancy had 
received a shock of which she must bear the 
effects through life. Circumstances might 
bring her feeble but sensitive nerves much 
misery. She required to be guarded and 
sheltered from the rudenesses of the world, 
and the mother trembled to think how much 
she might be exposed to them. But in every- 
thing that related to sound judgment, they 
knew that she surpassed not only them, but 
any of their acquaintance. If any difficulty 
had to be decided, it was Nancy who pondered 
on it, and perhaps at some moment when least 
expected, pronounced an opinion that might 
be taken as confidently as an oracle. 

The affection of the two sisters was some- 
thing beyond the ties of this world. Jane had 
watched and attended to her from the time of 
her constitutional injury with a love that 
never seemed to know a moment's weariness 
or change ; and the affection which Nancy 
evinced for her was equally intense and affect- 
ing. She seemed to hang on her society for 
her very life. Jane felt this, and vowed that 
they would never quit one another. The 
mother sighed. How many things, she thought, 
might tear asunder that beautiful resolve. 

But now they were of an age to obtain work 
in the mill. Indeed, Jane could have had 
employment there long before, but she would 
not quit her sister till she could go with her, 
and now there they went. The proprietor, 
who knew the case familiarly, so ordered it 
that the two sisters should work near each 
other ; and that poor Nancy should be as 
little exposed to the rudeness of the work- 
people as possible. But at first so slow and 
awkward were Nancy's endeavours, and such 
an effect had it on her frame, that it was 
feared she must give it up. This would have 
been a terrible calamity ; and the tears of the 
two sisters, and the benevolence of the em- 
ployer enabled Nancy to pass through this 
severe ordeal. In a while she acquired suffi- 
cient dexterity, and thenceforward went 
through her work \vith great accuracy and 
perseverance. As far as any intercourse with 
the workpeople was concerned, she might be 
said to be dumb. Scarcely ever did she ex- 
change a word with any one, but she returned 
kind nods and smiles ; and every morning and 
evening, and at dinner-time, the two sisters 
might be seen going to and fro, side by side, 
Jane often talking with some of them ; the 
little, odd-looking sister walking silent and 
listening. 

Five more years and Jane was a young woman. 
Amid her companions, who were few of them 
above the middle size, she had a tall and 
striking appearance. Her father had been a 
remarkably tall and strong man, and she pos- 



sessed something of his stature, though none 
of his irritable disposition. She was extremely 
pretty, of a blooming fresh complexion, and 
graceful form. She was remarkable for the 
sweetness of her expression, which was the 
index of her disposition. By her side still 
went that odd, broad-built, but still pale and 
little sister. Jane was extremely admired by 
the young men of the neighbourhood, and had 
already many offers, but she listened to none. 
' Where I go must Nancy go,' she said to her- 
self, ' and of whom can I be sure 1 ' 

Of Nancy no one took notice. Her pale, 
somewhat large features, her thoughtful silent 
look, and her short, stout figure, gave you 
an idea of a dwarf, though she could not 
strictly be called one. No one would think of 
Nancy as a wife,^where Jane went she must 
go ; the two clung together with one heart 
and soul. The blow which deprived them of 
their brother seemed to bind them inseparably 
together. 

Mrs. Dunster, besides her seaming, at which, 
in truth, she earned a miserable sum, had now 
for some years been the post- woman from the 
village to the Bull's Head, where the mail, 
going on to Tideswell, left the letter-bag. 
Thither and back, wet or dry, summer or 
winter, she went every day, the year round. 
With her earnings, and those of the girls', she 
kept a neat, small cottage ; and the world went 
as well with them as the world goes on the ave- 
rage with the poor. Cramps and rheumatisms 
she began to feel sensibly from so much ex- 
posure to rain and cold ; but the never-vaiying 
and firm affection of her two children was a 
balm in her cup which made her contented 
with everything else. 

When Jane was about two-and-twenty, poor 
Mrs. Dunster, seized with rheumatic fever, 
died. On her death-bed she said to Jane, 
' Thou will never desert poor Nancy ; and 
that 's my comfort. God has been good to me. 
After all my trouble, he has given me this 
faith, that come weal come woe, so long as 
thou has a home, Nancy will never want one. 
God bless thee for it ! God bless you both ; 
and he will bless you ! ' So saying, Betty 
Dunster breathed her last. 

The events immediately following her death 
did not seem to bear out her dying faith ; for 
the two poor girls were obliged to give up 
their cottage. There was a want of cottages. 
Not half of the workpeople could be enter- 
tained in this village ; they went to and fro 
for many miles. Jane and Nancy were now 
obliged to do the same. Their cottage was 
wanted for an overlooker, and they removed 
to Tideswell, three miles off'. They had thus 
six miles, a-day to walk, besides standing at 
their work ; but they were young, and had 
companions. In Tideswell they were more 
cheerful. They had a snug little cottage ; were 
near a Meeting ; and found friends. They did 
not complain. Here, again, Jane Dunster 
attracted great attention, and a young, thriving 
grocer paid his addresses to her. It was an 



156 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



offer that made Jane take time to reflect. 
Every one said it was an opportunity not to 
be neglected : but Jane weighed in her mind, 
' Will he keep faith in my compact with 
Nancy ? ' Though her admirer made every 
vow on the subject, Jane paused and deter- 
mined to take the opinion of Nancy. Nancy 
thought for a day, and then said, ' Dearest 
sister, I don't feel easy ; I fear that from 
some cause it would not do in the end.' 

Jane from that moment gave up the idea of 
the connection. There might be those who 
would suspect Nancy of a selfish bias in the 
advice she gave ; but Jane knew that no 
such feeling influenced her pure soul. For 
one long year the two sisters traversed 
the hills between Oessbrook and Tideswell. 
But they had companions, and it was pleasant 
in the summer months. But winter came, 
and then it was a severe trial. To rise in the 
dark, and traverse those wild and bleak hills ; 
to go through snow and drizzle, and face the 
sharpest winds in winter, was no trifling mat- 
ter. Before winter was over, the two young 
women began seriously to revolve the chances 
of a nearer residence, or a change of employ. 
There were no few who blamed Jane exces- 
sively for the folly of refusing the last good 
offer. There were even more than one who, 
in the hearing of Nancy, blamed her. Nancy 
was thoughtful, agitated, and wept. ' If I can, 
dear sister,' she said, ' have advised you to 
your injury, how shall I forgive myself? What 
shall become of me ? ' 

But Jane clasped her sister to her heart, 
and said, ' No ! no ! dearest sister, you are not 
to blame. I feel you are right ; let us wait, 
and we shall see ! ' 



FROM THE RAVEN IN THE 
HAPPY FAMILY. 



THE USES OF SORROW. 

OH, grieve not for the early dead, 
Whom God himself hath taken ; 

But deck with flowers each holy bed 
Nor deem thyself forsaken, 

When, one by one, they fall away, 

Who were to thee as summer day. 

Weep for the babes of guilt, who sleep 
With scanty rags stretch'd o'er them, 

On the dark road, the downward steep 
Of misery ; while before them 

Looms out afar the dreadful tree, 

And solemn, sad Eternity ! 

Nor weep alone ; but when to Heaven 
The cords of sorrow bind thee, 

Let kindest help to such be given, 
As God shall teach to find tliec ; 

And, for the sake of those above, 

Do deeds of Wisdom, Mercy, Love. 

The child that sicken'd on thy knee, 
Thou weeping Christian mother, 

Had leani'd in this world, lispingly, 
Words suited for another. 

Oh, dost thou think, with pitying mind, 

On untaught infants left behind I 



I WON'T bear it, and I don't see why I 
should. 

Having begun to commit my grievances to 
writing, I have made up my mind to go on. 
You men have a saying, ' I may as well be 
hung for a sheep as a lamb.' Very good. 
/ may as well get into a false position with 
our proprietor for a ream of manuscript as a 
quire. Here goes ! 

I want to know who BUFFON was. I'll 
take my oath he wasn't a bird. Then what 
did he know about birds especially about 
Ravens ? He pretends to know all about 
Ravens. Who told him ? Was his authority 
a Raven ? I should think not. There never 
was a Raven yet, who committed himself, 
you '11 find, if you look into the precedents. 

There 's a schoolmaster in dusty black 
knee-breeches and stockings, who comes and 
stares at our establishment every Saturday, 
and brings a lot of boys with him. He is 
always bothering the boys about BUFFON. 
That 's the way I know what BUFFON says. 
He is a nice man, BUFFON ; and you 're all nice 
men together, ain't you ? 

What do you mean by saying that I am in- 
quisitive and impudent, that I go everywhere, 
that I affront and drive off the dogs, that 
I play pranks on the poultry, and that I am 
particularly assiduous in cultivating the good- 
will of the cook ? That 's what your friend 
BUFFON says, and you adopt him it appears. 
And what do you mean by calling me 'a 
glutton by nature, and a thief by habit ? ' 
Why, the identical boy who was being told 
this, on the strength of BUFFON, as he looked 
through our wires last Saturday, was almost 
out of his mind with pudding, and had got 
another boy's top in his pocket ! 

I tell you what. I like the idea of you 
men, writing histories of iis, and settling what 
we are, and what we are not, and calling us 
any names you like best. What colors do 
you think you would show in, yourselves, if 
some of us were to take it into our heads to 
write histories of you ? I know something 
of Astley's Theatre, I hope ; I was about 
the stables there, a few years. Ecod ! if you 
heard the observations of the Horses after the 
performance, you 'd have some of the conceit 
taken out of you ! 

I don't mean to say that I admire the Cat. 
I don't admire her. On the whole, I have a 
personal animosity towards her. But, being 
obliged to lead this life, I condescend to hold 
communication with her, and I have asked her 
what her opinion is. She lived with an old 
lady of property before she came here, who 
had a number of nephews and nieces. She 
says she could show you up to that extent, 
after her experience in that situation, that even 
you would be hardly brazen enough to talk of 
cats being sly and selfish any more. 

I am particularly assiduous in cultivating 



Charlee Dickens.] 



FROM THE EAVEN IN THE HAPPY FAMILY. 



157 



the good-will of the cook, am 1 1 Oh ! I sup- 
pose you never do anything of this sort, your- 
selves ? No politician among you was ever 
particularly assiduous in cultivating the 
good-will of a minister, eh ? No clergyman 
in cultivating the good-will of a bishop, 
humph ? No fortune-seeker in cultivating 
the good-will of a patron, hah ? You have 
no toad-eating, no time-serving, no place-hunt- 
ing, no lacqueyship of gold and silver sticks, or 
anything of that sort, I suppose ? You haven't 
too many cooks, in short, whom you are all 
assiduously cultivating, till you spoil the 
general broth ? Not you. You leave that to 
the Ravens. 



Did you ever hear of a place called Cali- 
fornia 1 I have. I understand there are a 
number of animals over there, from all parts of 
the world, turning up the ground with their 
bills, grubbing under the water, sickening, 
moulting, living in want and fear, starving, 
dying, tumbling over on their backs, mur- 
dering one another, and all for what ? Pieces 
of money that they want to carry to their 
favourite holes. Havens every one of 'em ! 
Not a man among 'em, bless you ! 

Did you ever hear of Railway Scrip ? / 
have. We made a pretty exhibition of our- 
selves about that, we feathered creatures ! 
Lord, how we went on about that Railway 



Your friend BUFFON, and some more of | Scrip ! How we fell down, to a bird, from 
you, are mighty ready, it seems, to give us j the Eagle to the Sparrow, before a scarecrow, 
characters. Would you like to hear about and worshipped it for the love of the bits of 
your own temper and forbearance ? Ask the rag and paper fluttering from its dirty 

pockets ! If it hadn't tumbled down in its 
rottenness, we should have clapped a title on 
it within ten years, I '11 be sworn ! Go along 
with you, and your BUFFON, and don't talk 
to me ! 

' The Raven don't confine himself to petty 
depredations on the pantry or the larder ' 
here you are with your BUFFON again ' but 
he soars at more magnificent plunder, that he 
can neither exhibit nor enjoy. This must be 
very strange to you men more than it is to 
the Cat who lived with that old lady, though ! 

Now, I am not going to stand this. You 
shall not have it all your own way. I am 
resolved that I won't have Ravens written 
about by men, without having men written 
about by Ravens at all events by one Raven, 
and that 's me. I shall put down my opinions 
about you. As leisure and opportunity serve, 
I shall collect a natural history of you. You 
are a good deal given to talk about your 
missions. That 's my mission. How do you 
like it ? 

I am open to contributions from any animal 
except one of your set ; bird, beast, or fish, 
may assist me in my mission, if he will. I 
have mentioned it to the Cat, intimated it to 
the Mouse, and proposed it to the Dog. The 
Owl shakes his head when I confide it to him, 
and says he doubts. He always did shake his 
head, and doubt. Whenever he brings him- 
self before the public, he never does anything 
except shake his head and doubt. I should 
have thought he had got himself into a suffi- 
cient mess by doing that, when he roosted for 
a long time in the Court of Chancery. But he 
can't leave off. He 's always at it. 

Talking of missions, here 's our Proprietor's 
Wife with a mission now ! She has found out 
that she ought to go and vote at elections ; 
ought to be competent to sit in Parliament ; 
ought to be able to enter the learned profes- 
sions the army and navy, too, I believe. 
She has made the discovery that she has no 
business to be the comfort of our Proprietor's 
life, and to have the hold upon him of not 
being mixed up in all the j anglings andwrang- 
lings of men, but is quite ill-used in being 



* JL 

Dog. About your never overloading or ill- 
using a willing creature 1 Ask my brother-in- 
law's friend, the Camel, up in the Zoological. 
About your gratitude to, and your provision 
for, old servants ? I wish I could refer you to 
the last Horse I dined off (he was very tough), 
up at a knacker's yard in Battle Bridge. 
About your mildness, and your abstinence 
from blows and cudgels ? Wait till the 
Donkey's book comes out ! 

You are very fond of laughing at the parrot, 
I observe. Now, I don't care for the parrot. 
I don't admire the parrot's voice it wants 
hoarseness. And I despise the parrot's livery 
considering black the only true wear. I 
would as soon stick my bill into the parrot's 
breast as look at him. Sooner. But if you 
come to that, and you laugh at the parrot 
because the parrot says the same thing over 
and over again, don't you think you could get 
up a laugh at yourselves 1 Did you ever know 
a Cabinet Minister say of a flagrant job or 
great abuse, perfectly notorious to the whole 
country, that he had never heard a word of 
it himself, but could assure the honourable 
gentleman that every enquiry should be 
made ? Did you ever hear a Justice remark, 
of any extreme example of ignorance, that it 
was a most extraordinary case, and he couldn't 
have believed in the possibility of such a case 
when there had been, all through his life, 
ten thousand such within sight of his chimney- 
pots 1 Did you ever hear, among yourselves, 
anything approaching to a parrot repetition 
of the words, Constitution, Country, Public 
Service, Self-Go vernment, Centralisation, Un- 
English, Capital, Balance of Power, Vested 
Interests, Corn, Rights of Labor, Wages, or 



so forth 1 Did you ever 
you never ! 



No ! Of course, 



But to come back to that fellow BUFFON. 
He finds us Ravens to be most extraordinary 
creatures. We have properties so remark- 
able, that you 'd hardly believe it. ' A piece 
of money, a teaspoon, or a ring,' he says, ' are 
always tempting baits to our avarice. These 
we will slily seize upon ; and, if not watched, 
carry to our favorite hole.' How odd ! 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Completed by 



the solace of his home, and wants to go out 
speechifying. That 's our Proprietor's Wife's 
)i-w mission. Why, you never heard the 
Dove go on in that ridiculous way. She 
knows her true strength better. 

You are mighty proud about your language ; 
but it seems to me that you don't deserve to 
have words, if you can't make a better use of 
'em. You know you are always fighting about 
'em. Do you never mean to leave that off, 
and come to things a little ? I thought you 
had high authority for not tearing each other's 
eyes out, about words. You respect it, don't 
you I 

I declare I am 1 stunned with words, on my 
perch in the Happy Family. I used to think 
the cry of a Peacock bad enough, when I was 
on sale in a menagerie, but I had rather live 
in the midst of twenty peacocks, than one 
Gorham and a Privy Council. In the midst 
of your wordy squabbling, you don't think of 
the lookers-on. But if you heard what / hear 
in my public thoroughfare, you'd stop a little 
of that noise, and leave the great bulk of the 
people something to believe in peace. You 
are overdoing it, I assure you. 

I don't wonder at the Parrot picking words 
up and occupying herself with them. She 
has nothing else to do. There are no desti- 
tute parrots, no uneducated parrots, no foreign 
parrots in a contagious state of distraction, 
no parrots in danger of pestilence, no festering 
heaps of miserable parrots, no parrots crying 
to be sent away beyond the sea for dear life. 
But among you ! 

Well ! I repeat, I am not going to stand 
it. Tame submission to injustice is un 
of a Raven. I croak the croak of revolt, and 
call upon the Happy Family to rally round 
me. You men have had it all your own way 
for a long time. Now, you shall hear a senti- 
ment or two about yourselves. 

I find my last communication gone from 
the corner where T hid it. I rather suspect 
the magpie, but he says, ' Upon his honor.' 
If Mr. Rowland Hill has got it, he will do me 
justice more justice than you have done him 
lately, or I am mistaken in my man. 



ILLUSTRATIONS OF CHEAPNESS. 

EGGS. 

THRIVE is a curious illustration of the mode 
in which kings and legislators thought to 
make things cheap, in an Ordinance of 
EuAvard the Second, of the year 1314, in 
which it is set forth that there is ' jm in- 
tolerable dearth, in these days, of oxen, cows, 
sheep, hogs, geese, capons, hens, chickens, 
pigeons, and eggs ; ' and therefore, amongst 
other regulations, it is prescribed that twenty 
eggs shall be sold for a penny, and that the 
s should be forfeited if the salesman would 
not take that price. Some years before (1274), 
the Lord Mayor of London, in a similar pro- 
clamation, shows us how the commerce of 
food was conducted, by ordaining that no 



huckster of fowl should go out of the city to 
meet the country people coming in with 
their commodities, but buy in the city after 
three o'clock, when the great men and citizens 
had supplied themselves at the first hand. 
Of course, these regulations did pnnlive 'an 
intolerable dearth ;' and Edward the Second 
had the candour to acknowledge this by a 
proclamation of 1315, in which he says, 'we 
have understood that such a proclamation, 
which at that time we believed would be for 
the profit of the people of our realm, re- 
dounds to their greater damage than profit.' 
Nevertheless, two centuries and a half later, 
the civic wisdom discovered that ' through the 
grievous covetousncss of poulterers, the prices 
of all poultry wares are grown to be excessive 
and unreasonable ; ' and therefore the Lord 
Mayor decrees the prices of geese and chickens, 
and commands that eggs shall be five a penny. 
(Stow.) In 1597 we learn, that even an 
attorney-general could not have the benefit 
of such an enforced cheapness ; for the 
household book of Sir Edwai'd Coke shows 
us that his steward expended 4s. 8d. in one 
week of May, for his master's family in 
Holborn, by daily purchases of eggs at ten 
for a groat ; while at his country house at 
Godwicke, in Norfolk, in the same year, he 
daily bought eggs at twenty a groat in 
July. 

The fact that in 1597 eggs were double the 
price in Holborn as compared with the eggs 
of Godwieke, is one of the incidental proofs of 
an almost self-evident principle, that com- 
mercial intercourse, produced by facilities of 
., is one of the great causes of 
cheapness arising out of equalisation of prices. 
But snch facilities further lower prices, by 
stimulating production. It is to be noted, 
that while the Attorney-General, when in the 
country, killed his own bullocks and sheep, 
and had green geese, capons, and chickens in 
profusion out of his own poultry-yard, he 
bought his eggs. We have no doubt that his 
occasional presence at Godwicke encouraged 
the cottagers in the provision of eggs for the 
great man's use. He did not produce them 
himself, for the carriage to London would 
have been most costly. But his purchases 
were irregular. When the family went to 
Holborn, the eggs had to seek an inferior 
market. If no one was at hand, the pro- 
duction declined. They did not go to London, 
to lower the price there, by increasing the 
supply. 

Eggs at ten a groat, even, sound cheap. 
But while Coke bought his eggs at ten a groat, 
he only paid two shillings a stone for his beef. 
Ten eggs were, therefore, equivalent to about 
two pounds of beef. In this month of April, 
1850, good eggs may be bought in London at 
sixteen for a shilling, which shilling would 
purchase two pounds of beef. Eggs are, 
therefore, more than one half cheaper in Lon- 
don now than two centuries and a half ago, by 
comparison with mat. They are far cheaper 



worthy communication, 



Charles Dickens.] 



ILLUSTRATIONS OF CHEAPNESS. 



150 



when we regard the altered value of money. 
In the days of Queen Elizabeth eggs were a 
common article of food. We learn from no 
less an authority than the Chamberlain of a 
renowned inn in Kent, that the company who 
travelled with the carriers used eggs plenti- 
fully and luxuriously. ' They are up already, 
and call for eggs and butter.' (Henry IV. 
pt. 1.) But if we infer that the population of 
London, in those days of supposed cheapness, 
could obtain eggs with the facility with which 
we now obtain them, and that the estimated two 
hundred thousand of that population could call 
for them as freely as the pack-horse travellers 
at Eochester, the inference may be corrected 
by the knowledge of a few facts, which will 
show by what means, then undiscovered, a 
perishable article is now supplied with un- 
failing regularity, and without any limit but 
that enforced by the demand, to a population 
of two millions and a quarter. That such a 
population can be so supplied without a con- 
tiniyng increase, or a perpetual variation of 
price, is an Illustration of Cheapness, which 
involves a view of some remarkable peculia- 
rities of our age, and some important charac- 
teristics of our social condition. 

In the days of Edward II., the villagers who 
dwelt within a few miles of London daily sur- 
rounded its walls with their poultry and eggs. 
The poulterers were forbidden to become their 
factors ; but unquestionably it was for the 
interest of both parties that some one should 
stand between the producer and the consumer. 
Without this, there would have been no re- 
gular production. Perhaps the production 
was very irregular, the price very fluctuating, 
the dearth often intolerable. This huckstering 
had to go on for centuries before it became 
commerce. It would have been difficult, even 
fifty years ago, to imagine that eggs, a frail 
commodity, and quickly perishable, should 
become a great article of import. Extravagant 
would have been the assertion that a kingdom 
should be supplied with sea-borne eggs, with 
as much speed, with more regularity, and at 
a more equalised price, than a country market- 
town of the days of George III. It has been 
stated, that, before the Peace of 1815, Berwick- 
upon-Tweed shipped annually as many eggs 
to London as were valued at 30,000^. Before 
the Peace, there were no steam-vessels ; and it 
is difficult to conceive how the cargoes from 
Berwick, with a passage that often lasted a 
month, could find their way to the London 
consumer in marketable condition. Perhaps 
the eaters of those eggs, collected in the Border 
districts, were not so fastidious in their tastes 
as those who now despise a French egg which 
has been a week travelling from the Pas de 
Calais. But the Berwick eggs were, at any 
rate, the commencement of a real commerce 
in eggs. 

In 1820, five years after the Peace, thirty- 
one millions of foreign eggs found their way 
into England, paying a duty of 11,077, at 
the rate of a penny for each dozen. They 



principally came from France, from that coast 
which had a ready communication with Kent 
and Sussex, and with the Thames. These 
eggs, liable as they were to a duty, came to 
the consumer so much cheaper than the Ber- 
wick eggs, or the Welsh eggs, or the eggs 
even that were produced in Middlesex or 
Surrey, that the trade in eggs was slowly but 
surely revolutionised. Large heaps of eggs 
made their appearance in the London markets, 
or stood in great boxes at the door of the 
butterman, with tempting labels of ' 24 a 
shilling,' or ' 20 a shilling.' They were ap- 
proached with great suspicion, and not un- 
justly so ; for the triumphs of steam were yet 
far from complete. But it was discovered 
that there was an egg-producing country in 
close proximity to London, in which the pro- 
duction of eggs for the metropolitan market 
might be stimulated by systematic intercourse, 
and become a mutual advantage to a population 
of two millions, closely packed in forty square 
miles of street, and a population of six hun- 
dred thousand spread over two thousand five 
hundred square miles of arable, meadow, and 
forest land, with six or eight large towns. 
This population of the Pas de Calais is 
chiefly composed of small proprietors. Though 
the farms are larger there than in some other 
parts of France, some of the peculiarities of 
what is called the small culture are there ob- 
servable. Poultry, especially, is most abun- 
dant. Every large and every small farm- 
house has its troops of fowls and turkeys. 
The pullets are carefully fed and housed ; the 
eggs are duly collected ; the good-wife carries 
them to the markets of Arras, or Bethune, or 
St. Omer, or Aire, or Boulogne, or Calais : 
perhaps the egg-collector traverses the district 
with his cart and his runners. The egg-trade 
with England gradually went on increasing. 
In 1835, France consigned to us seventy-six 
millions of eggs, paying a duty of tenpence 
for 120. In 1849, we received ninety-eight 
millions of foreign eggs, paying a duty of 
tenpence-halfpenny per 120, amounting to 
35,694. These are known in the egg-market 
as eggs of Caen, Honfleur, Cherbourg, Calais, 
and Belgium. 

In 1825 the commercial intercourse between 
Great Britain and Ireland was put upon the 
same footing as the coasting trade of the 
ports of England. Steam navigation between 
the two islands also had received an enormous 
impulse. The small farmers and cottiers of 
Ireland were poultry-keepers. Too often the 
poor oppressed tenants were wont to think 
' The hen lays eggs, they go into the lord's 
frying-pan.' Steam navigation gave a new 
impulse to Irish industry. Before steam- 
vessels entered the Cove of Cork, an egg, at 
certain seasons, could scarcely be found in the 
market of that city. England wanted eggs ; 
steam-boats would convey them rapidly to 
Bristol ; the small farmers applied themselves 
to the production of eggs ; Cork itself then 
obtained a constant and cheap supply. In 



160 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



1835 Ireland exported as many eggs to Eng- 
land as were valued at 156,000, being in 
number nearly a hundred millions. In 1847 
it was stated by Mr. Richardson, in a work 
on Domestic Fowls, published in Dublin, that 
the export of eggs from Ireland to England 
was ' bordering on a million sterling.' The 
eggs are valued at 5s. Gd. for 124, which would 
indicate an export of about four hundred and 
fifty millions of eggs. We come to more pre- 
cise results when we learn, on the authority 
of the secretary of the Dublin Steam-Packet 
Company, that in the year 1844-5 there were 
shipped from Dublin alone, to London and 
Liverpool, forty-eight millions of eggs, valued 
at 122,500 In the census of 1841, the poultry 
of Ireland was valued at 202,000^., taking each 
fowl at Gd. per head. The return was below 
the reality ; for the peasantry were naturally 
afraid of some fiscal imposition, worse even 
than the old tax of ' duty fowls,' when they 
had to account for their Dame Partletts. 
Eight millions of poultry, which this return 
indicates, is, however, a large number. The 
gross number of holdings in Ireland, as shown 
by the agricultural returns of 1847, was 
935,000 ; and this would give above eight 
fowls to every cottage and farm, a number 
sufficient to produce four hundred and fifty 
millions of eggs for exportation, if all could be 
collected and all carried to a port. One hun- 
dred and twenty eggs yearly is the produce of 
a good hen. It would be safe to take the 
Irish export of eggs at half the number, an 
enormous quantity, when we consider what a 
trifling matter an egg appears when we talk 
of large culture and extensive commerce. 
Out of such trifles communities have grown 
into industrious and frugal habits and conse- 
quent prosperity. There was a time when the 
English farmer's wife would keep her house- 
hold out of the profits of her butter, her poul- 
try, and her eggs ; when she duly rose at five 
o'clock on the market-day morning, rode with 
her wares some seven miles in a jolting cart, 
and stood for six hours at a stall till she had 
turned all her commodity into the ready 
penny. The old thrift and the old simplicity 
may return, when English farmers learn not 
to despise small gains, and understand how 
many other things are to be done with the 
broad acres, besides growing wheat at a 
monopoly price. 

The coast-trade brings English eggs in 
large numbers into the London markets. 
Scotch eggs are also an article of import. 
The English eggs, according to the ' Price 
Current, fetch 25 per cent, more than the 
Scotch or Irish. The average pi-ice of all 
eggs at the present time, in the wholesale 
London market, is five shillings for 120 
exactly a halfpenny each. 

In the counties by which London is sur- 
rounded, the production of fresh eggs is far 
below the metropolitan demand. Poultry, 
indeed, is produced in considerable quantities, 
but there is little systematic attention to the 



profitable article of eggs. Where is the ngri- 
cultural labourer who has his half-dozen 
young hens, from which number, with good 
management, nine hundred, and even a thou- 
sand eggs may be annually produced, that 
will obtain a high p7'ice three times as high 
as foreign eggs T These six hens would yield 
the cottager a pleasant addition to his scanty 
wages, provided the egg-collection were sys- 
tematised, as it is in Ireland. Mr. Weld, in 
his ' Statistical Survey of the County of Ros- 
common,' says, ' The eggs are collected from 
the cottages for several miles round, by run- 
ners, commonly boys from nine years old and 
upwards, each of whom has a regular beat, 
which he goes over daily, bearing back the 
produce of his toil carefully stowed in a small 
hand-basket. I have frequently met with 
these boys on their rounds, and the caution 
necessary for bringing in their brittle ware with 
safety seemed to have communicated an air of 
business and steadiness to their manner, un- 
usual to the ordinary volatile habits of chil- 
dren in Ireland.' 

Making a reasonable estimate of the number 
of foreign eggs, and of Irish and Scotch eggs that 
come into the port of London and put ting them 
together at a hundred and fifty millions, every 
individual of the London population consumes 
sixty eggs, brought to his own door from 
sources of supply which did not exist thirty 
years ago. Nor will such a number appear 
extravagant when we consider how accurately 
the egg-consumption is regulated by the means 
and the wants of this great community. Rapid 
as the transit of these eggs has become, there 
are necessarily various stages of freshness in 
which they reach the London market. The 
retail dealer purchases accordingly of the egg- 
merchant ; and has a commodity for sale 
adapted to the peculiar classes of his custo- 
mers. The dairyman or poulterer in the 
fashionable districts permits, or affects to 
permit, no cheap sea-borne eggs to come upon 
his premises. He has his eggs of a snowy 
whiteness at four or six a shilling, ' warranted 
new-laid ; ' and his eggs from Devonshire, 
cheap at eight a shilling, for all purposes of 
polite cookery. In Whitechapel, or Totten- 
ham Court Road, the bacon-seller ' warrants ' 
even his twenty-four a shilling. In truth, the 
cheapest eggs from France and Ireland are as 
;ood, if not better, than the eggs which were 
>rought to London in the days of bad roads 
and slow conveyance the days of road-wag- 
gons and pack-horses. And a great benefit it 
is, and a real boast of that civilisation which 
is a consequence of free and rapid commercial 
intercourse. Under the existing agricultural 
condition of England, London could not, by 
any possibility, be supplied with eggs to the 
extent of a hundred and fifty millions annually, 
beyond the existing supply from the neigh- 
bouring counties. The cheapness of eggs 
through the imported supply has raised up a 
new class of egg-consumers. Eggs are no 
longer a luxury which the poor of London 



Charles Dickens.] 



MUSIC IN HUMBLE LIFE. 



161 



cannot touch. France and Ireland send them 
cheap eggs. But France and Ireland produce 
eggs for London, that the poultry-keepers may 
supply themselves with other things which they 
require more than eggs. Each is a gainer by the 
exchange. The industry of each population is 
stimulated ; the wants of each supplied. 



MUSIC IN HUMBLE LIFE. 



Music that is, classical music has of 
late years been gradually descending from 
the higher to the humbler classes. The 
Muse is changing her associates ; she is taking 
up with the humble and needy, and leaves 
notliing better to her aristocratic friends than 
their much-loved Italian Opera. It is to the 
masses that she awards some of her choicest 
scientific gifts. She has of late years perme- 
ated and softened the hard existence of the 
artisan and the labourer. 

It was not always thus. There was an 
' olden time ' in England when Music was 
more assiduously cultivated among the higher 
and educated classes than it has been in 
more modern days. In the sixteenth century, 
knowledge of music, and skill in its perform- 
ance were deemed indispensable to persons of 
condition. Queen Elizabeth, among her other 
vanities, was proud of her musical powers, 
and not a little jealous of her unhappy rival, the 
Queen of Scots, on account of her proficiency in 
this accomplishment. The favourite vocal 
music of that day consisted of the madrigals 
of the great Italian and English masters 
those wonderful works of art, which, like the 
productions of ancient Grecian sculpture, 
have baffled all attempts at modern imita- 
tion. Yet every well-educated lady or gentle- 
man was expected to take a part in those 
profound and complicated harmonies ; and 
at a social meeting, to decline doing so, on 
the score of inability, was regarded as a proof 
of rudeness and low-breeding. In Morley's 
very curious book, the ' Introduction to Prac- 
tical Music] a gentleman is represented as 
seeking musical instruction in consequence of 
a mortification of this kind. ' Supper being 
ended,' says he, 'and musicke books, according 
to the custom, being brought to the table, the 
mistress of the house presented me with a 
part, earnestly requesting me to sing ; but 
when, after many excuses, I protested un- 
fainedly that I could not, everie one began to 
wonder, yea, some whispered to others, de- 
manding how I was brought up.' 

Music declined in England along with 
manners. In the middle of the last century, a 
period rivalling the days of Charles the Second 
in moral profligacy, Lord Chesterfield, who of 
course expressed the fashionable feeling of 
the time, advised his son to eschew the 
practice of music as unbecoming a gentleman. 
This feeling, we need scarcely say, has long 
passed away ; some of our most accomplished 
amateurs of both sexes being found in the 
highest circles of society. 



Traces, however, of the ancient and ex- 
tensive cultivation of music were never en- 
tirely obliterated ; and, as might be expected, 
they existed, along with more primitive 
manners, in the more remote districts of the 
country. In some of the northern counties, 
particularly Lancashire and Yorkshire, the 
inhabitants have from time immemorial been 
remarkable for skill in vocal harmony, and 
for their knowledge of the old part-music of 
the English school. As these districts have 
gradually become the seats of manufactures, 
the same musical habits have been kept up 
among the growing population ; and so 
salutary have these habits been found so 
conducive to order, temperance, and industry 
that many great manufacturers have en- 
couraged them by furnishing to their work- 
people the means of musical instruction. 

The Messrs. Strutt, of Derby, trained some 
of their brawny workmen into a band, and 
many of them could step from the forge into 
the orchestra, and perform some of the most 
complicated pieces, by English and foreign 
composers, in a creditable style. 

Another set of harmonious blacksmiths 
awaken the echoes of the remotest. Welsh 
mountains. The correspondent of a London 
paper, while visiting Merthyr, was exceed- 
ingly puzzled by hearing boys in the Cy- 
farthfa works whistling airs rarely heard 
except in the fashionable ball-room, opera- 
house, or drawing-room. He afterwards 
discovered that the proprietor of the works, 
Mr. Eobert Crawshay, had established among 
his men a brass band, which practises once a 
\veek throughout the year. They have the 
good fortune to be led by a man (one of the 
' roll-turners ') who must have had some- 
where a superior musical education. ' I had 
ihe pleasure of hearing them play, and was 
astonished at their proficiency. They number 
sixteen instruments. I heard them perform 
ihe Overtures to Zampa, The Caliph of 
Bagdad, and Fra Diavolo, Vivi tu, some 
concerted music from Roberto, Don 
Giovanni, and Lucia, with a quantity of 
Waltzes, Polkas, and dance music. The 
bandmaster had them under excellent con- 
trol ; he everywhere took the time well, and 
;he instruments preserved it, each taking up 
bus lead with spirit and accuracy ; in short, 
I have seldom heard a regimental band more 
perfect than this handful of workmen, located 
(far from any place where they might com- 
mand the benefit of hearing other bands) in 
the mountains of Wales. The great body of 
men at these works are extremely proud of 
their musical performances, aud like to boast 
of them. I have been told it cost Mr. Craw- 
shay great pains and expense to bring this 
band to its present excellent condition. If 
so, he now has his reward. Besides this, he 
has shown what the intellectual capacity of 
the workman is equal to, and, above all, he 
has provided a rational and refined amuse- 
ment for classes whose leisure time would 



102 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



otherwise probably have been less creditably 
.spent than in learning or listening to music.' 

The habits and manners of these men 
appear to have been decidedly improved 
by these softening influences. They are 
peaceful and simple. 'During a stay of 
several weeks in the town,' says the same 
authority, ' I neither saw nor heard of alter- 
cations or fighting. The man, on his return 
from labour, usually washes (the colliers and 
miners invariably wash every day from head 
to foot), puts on another coat, and sits down 
to hia nieal of potatoes, meat, and tea, or 
broth, and bread and cheese, as the case may 
be. His wife and children, comfortably 
clothed and cheerful, sit down with him. 
Afterwards he. goes to a neighbour's house, 
or receives some friends of his own, when 
they discuss the news and light gossip affect- 
ing their class, or talk over the success or 
difficulties attending their work and their 
prospects as regards the future. Visiting 
many of their houses at night, I saw numbers 
of such groups ; in one instance only I saw 
them drinking beer, and that was at a kind of 
house warming, one of the body having that 
night taken possession of the neatly furnished 
house where I found them assembled.' 

These are, indeed, only insulated good 
effects wrought by private individuals ; but 
their beneficial effects have led to and helped 
on the systematic cultivation of music as a 
branch of popular education under the direct 
sanction and authority of the Government ; 
and the labours of Mr. Hullah, who was 
chosen as the agent in this good work, have 
been attended with a degree of success far 
beyond anything that could have been 
anticipated. 

Mr. Hullah had turned his attention to the 
subject of popular instruction in Music, be- 
fore the matter was taken up by the Govern- 
ment, and had examined the methods of tuition 
adopted in various parts of the Continent. 
An investigation of the system of Wilhem, 
which had been formally sanctioned by the 
French Government, induced him to attempt 
its introduction in a modified form, into this 
country ; and he had an opportunity of doing 
so by being appointed to instruct in vocal 
music the pupils of the training-school at 
Battersea, then recently opened under the 
direction of the National Society. In Febru- 
ary 1840, he gave his tirst lesson to a class of 
about twenty boys, and from this small be- 
ginning sprang the great movement which 
speedily extended over the kingdom. The 
success of these lessons attracted the notice 
of the Committee of the Privy Council, who 
undertook the publication of the work con- 
taining the adaptation of the Williem system 
to English use ; and under the sanction of 
the Committee, three classes were opened hi 
Exeter Hall for schoolmasters or teachers in 
elementary schools, each class limited to one 
hundred persons ; and a fourth class, of the 
same number, for female teachers. These 



classes were opened hi February and Alan-h 
18-11. Their expenses were defrayed partly 
from .small payments made by the pupils 
themselves, and partly by a subscription 
raised among a few distinguished friends of 
1'iliication. It is worthy of particular notice 
(as an erroneous impression has existed on the 
subject) that the Government has never con- 
tributed a shilling to the support of any of 
Mr. Hullah's classes ; though the official 
countenance and encouragement of the Com- 
mittee of Council certainly contributed much 
to Mr. Hullali's success. 

Many applications for similar instructions 
having been made by persons not engaged in 
teaching, the elementary classes were thrown 
open to the public ; and in the spring of 1841 
these applications became so numerous, that 
it was found necessary to engage the Great 
Room at Exeter Hall and several of the 
smaller rooms. 

These first courses of elementary lessons 
being ended, an Upper School was opened, in 
December 1841, for the practice of choral 
music, to enable those pupils who might desire 
it to keep up and increase the knowledge they 
had acquired. This class was joined by about 
250 persons. 

The first great choral meeting of Mr. 
Hullah's classes was held in April 1842. 
About 1500 persons sang, of whom the majo- 
rity were adults, who, a year before, had pos- 
sessed no knowledge of music. During the 
year following, 861 persons joined the ele- 
mentary classes, and 1465 became members 
of the Upper Schools, which were increased 
in number from one to three. 

Of these Upper Schools, Mr. Hullah him- 
self says * 

' They consist of persons of both sexes, of 
nearly all ages, and nearly all ranks ; for I 
think it would be difficult to name a class or 
calling, of which they do not include some 
representative. We have clergymen, lawyers, 
doctors, tradesmen, clerks, mechanics, soldiers, 
and, of course, many schoolmasters and school- 
mistresses. The large number of females, be- 
sides distinguishing us broadly from those 
musical societies called Social Harmonists and 
Glorious Apollos and the like relics of an 
age when men were not at all times fit com- 
pany for women besides producing that 
courteous and scrupulous tone which female 
influence must produce wherever it has fair 
play, removes the only objection whiclii can 
reasonably be made to this kind of social 
recreation, that it carries individuals away 
from their homes, and breaks up family 
circles ; for our meetings include many a 
family circle entire husbands and wives, bro- 
thers and sisters, parents and children ; and 
these, in many instances, taught by one 
another.' 

When the singing classes were opened in 
Exeter Hall, other classes were also opened, 

* The, Duty mid Advantage of Learning to S'mg. A Lecture 
delivered at the Leeds Church Institution, 11*46. 



Charles Dickens.] 



MUSIC IN HUMBLE LIFE. 



163 



also under the sanction of the Committee of 
Council, for totally different objects ; instruc- 
tion in Model Drawing, Writing, Arithmetic, 
and Chemistry. The receipts from the singing 
classes, during 1841, 1842, and 1843, realised 
a net surplus above expenditure, of 11221. ; 
but nearly the whole of this sum was em- 
ployed in meeting the losses on the other 
classes, in every one of which there was a 
deficit. From the very heavy rent, too, de- 
manded for Exeter Hall, it was thought ad- 
visable to quit that place, and transfer the 
singing classes to the Apollonicon Rooms in 
St. Martin's Lane, till the plan then formed, 
for the erection of a building at once less ex- 
pensive and better fitted for the accommoda- 
tion of the classes than Exeter Hall, could be 
carried into effect. 

This ph\n has been accomplished by the 
erection of the edifice in Long Acre, called St. 
Martin's Hall. The funds for this purpose 
were raised by the persevering exertions of 
Mr. Hullali, aided by liberal advances made 
by private individuals, subscriptions, and con- 
tributions of the pupils, in testimony of their 
sense of the advantage they derived from the 
schools, and the profits of a series of great 
Choral Concerts given, for several seasons, in 
Exeter Hall. The first stone of the building 
was laid by the Earl of Carlisle on the 26th of 
June, 1847 ; and the first public meeting in 
the Great Hall was held on the llth of 
February last. The edifice, though rendered 
fit for present use, is not yet fully completed, 
in consequence of a portion of the ground 
forming its site being still under an unexpired 
lease. When finished, the great concert-hall 
will be 120 feet long, 55 wide, and 40 high ; 
and will afford accommodation for three 
thousand persons. There are also a lecture- 
room which can hold five hundred persons, 
three spacious class-rooms, and a large room 
intended as a library of music and musical 
literature. 

At St. Martin's Hall there are now about 
1400 persons in various stages of instruction ; 
about 450 in the first upper school, about 250 
in the second, and the remainder in the 
elementary classes. The pupils belong to 
every class and calling ; the highest ranks of 
the aristocracy, the members of almost every 
trade and profession, the industrious mechanic 
and workman; and they all mingle in one 
common pursuit, without regard to station or 
degree, and with the utmost harmony of 
feeling. There is a due admixture of the 
softer sex ; and the meetings of the classes are 
characterised by such uniform propriety and 
decorum, that the most scrupulous parents 
allow their children, without hesitation, to 
attend them. 

There are several other places in the 
Metropolis where Mr. Hullah's system of 
teaching is in operation. He has been ap- 
pointed Professor of Vocal Music in King's 
College, in, which seminary music forms a 
regular part of the Theological Course ; a 



knowledge of this art being regarded as so 
conducive to the usefulness of a clergyman, 
that its acquirement, to a certain extent, is 
rendered imperative on the students of divinity. 
At the Charterhouse, a succession of singing- 
classes has been maintained for these five or 
six years. 

The National Society for the Education of 
the Poor has four Normal Schools, in all of 
which the musical instruction is under Mr. 
Hullah's direction. These are : 1st, St.Mark's 
College, Chelsea ; in which there are always 
sixty students, who remain there three years. 
All learn to sing, and the majority to write in 
four-part harmony, before they leave. They 
have a daily choral service, in which they sing 
(without accompaniment) the services of 
Tallis, Gibbous, and other (chiefly old) Eng- 
lish masters, and the motets and hymns of 
the old Italian and Flemish schools. They 
are at this time getting up, in their leisure 
hours, The Messiah, with not only the vocal 
but the instrumental parts. Attached to the 
College is a boys' school, where the boys 
(upwards of 200) are taught to sing by the 
students. The boys of the first class are all 
able to sing the treble parts of The Messiah. 
2nd, Battersea College, in which there are 
about 80 students, who remain about a year. 
3rd, Westminster Training Institution, in 
which there are about 45 masters and 60 
mistresses, who remain about six months. 
There are also, in the school attached, about 
200 boys and 150 girls taught to sing. The 
whole body forms at once the choir and greater 
part of the congregation at Christ Church, 
Westminster. The children at this school are 
of the humblest class. 4th, Whitelands ; 
where there are about 75 young women train- 
ing for schoolmistresses. They remain about 
three years, and attain some knowledge of 
Harmony. 

Besides the above, under Mr. Hullah's per- 
sonal direction, there are various other train- 
ing institutions in London, in which his plans 
have been adopted, and are carried out by 
pupils of his own. The most important of 
these are, the Borough Eoad Schools and the 
Home and Colonial Infant School Society. 

There are Normal Schools at York, Exeter, 
Oxford, Chester, Warrington, Durham, and 
other provincial towns, in all of which music 
is taught systematically, according to the 
methods which the masters have acquired in 
the Normal Schools of the metropolis. In 
Ireland, the National Board of Education 
some years ago formally adopted Mr. Hullah's 
books, and have introduced his methods into 
a variety of seminaries. In Scotland less 
seems to have been done. But the authorities 
of the Free Church sent a young teacher to 
study under Mr. Hullah, who returned to 
Edinburgh about a year ago, and, we learn, is 
giving instructions with success. Mr. Hullah's 
' Manual ' has been translated into Welsh, and 
introduced into some schools in the Princi- 
pality. Many copies of his books have been 



164 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



sent to different parts of India, Australia, 
Van Diemen's Land, and New Zealand, for the 
use of persons teaching in those remote 
regions. 

It thus appears that Music is becoming a 
regular branch of popular education, and for 
the most part according to an uniform and 
well-tried method, in every part of the British 
empire. The system is of too recent growth 
to have brought its fruits to maturity. It 
may, indeed, be regarded as in its infancy 
when compared with the magnitude which 
it cannot fail to attain. But already its effects 
are striking and encouraging. Music well, 
badly, or indifferently taiight forms a part of 
the business of the great majority of schools, 
national, public, and private, throughout the 
country. In hundreds of quiet, out-of-the-way 
country churches, an approximation is made 
to a choral service often purely vocal. Hun- 
dreds of country clergymen are now qualified, 
by musical attainment, to superintend the 
singing of their choirs and congregations, and 
exert themselves to render it consistent with 
taste, propriety, and devotion. And it is a cer- 
tain fact, that whereas ten years ago, nobody, 
in the engagement of a schoolmaster, ever 
thought of inquiring about his musical ca- 
pacity, men defective in this point, but other- 
wise of unexceptionable character and attain- 
ments, find it next to impossible to obtain 
employment. 



A PARIS NEWSPAPER. 



WITHIN the precincts of that resort for 
foreigners and provincials in Paris the Palais 
Royal, is situate the Rue du 24 Fevrier. This 
revolutionary name, given after the last out- 
break, is still pronounced with difficulty by 
those who, of old, were wont to call it the 
Rue de Valois. People are becoming accus- 
tomed to call the royally named street by 
its revolutionary title, although it is pro- 
bable that no one will ever succeed in calling 
the Palais Royal, Palais National ; the force 
of habit being in this instance too great to 
efface old recollections. Few foreigners have 
ever penetrated into the Rue de 24 Fevrier, 
though it forms one of the external galleries 
of the Palais Royal, and one may see there 
the smoky kitchens, dirty cooks, the night- 
side, in fact, of the splendid restaurants whose 
gilt fronts attract attention inside. Rubicund 
apples, splendid game, truffles, and ortolans, 
deck the one side ; smoke, dirty plates, rags, 
and smutty saucepans may be seen on the 
other. 

It is from an office in the Rue de 24 Fevrier, 
almost opposite the dark side of a gorgeous 
Palais Royal restaurant, that issue 40,000 
copies of a daily print, entitled the ' Con- 
stitutionnel.' 

Newspaper offices, be it remarked, are 
always to be found in odd holes and corners. 
To the mass in London, Printing-house Square, 
or Lombard Street, Whitefriars, are mysti- 



cal localities ; yet they are the daily birth- 
places of that fourth estate which fulminates 
anathemas on all the follies and weaknesses 
of governments, and, without which, no one 
can feel free or independent. The ' Constitu- 
tionnel ' office is about as little known to the 
mass of its subscribers as either Printing- 
house Square or Whitefriars. 

There is always an old and respectable look 
about the interior of newspaper establishments, 
in whatever country you may find them. For 
rusty dinginess, perhaps there is nothing to 
equal a London office, with its floors strewed 
with newspapers from all parts of the world, 
parliamentary reports, and its shelves creak- 
ing under books of all sorts thumbed to the 
last extremity. Notwithstanding these ap- 
pearances, however, there is discipline, there 
is real order in the apparent disorder of 
things. Those newspapers that are lying in 
heaps have to be accurately filed ; those books 
of reference can be pounced upon when wanted 
on the instant ; and as to reports, the place of 
each is as well known as if all labelled and 
ticketed with the elaborate accuracy of a 
public library. 

Not less rusty and not less disorderly is the 
appearance of a French newspaper office ; but 
how different the aspect of things from what 
you see in England ! 

Over the office of the ' Constitutionnel ' is 
a dingy tricolor flag. A few broken steps 
lead to a pair of folding-doors. Inside is the 
sanctuary of the office, guarded by that flag 
as if by the honour of the country ; for the 
tricolor represents all Frenchmen, be he 
prince or proletarian. 

You enter through a narrow passage flanked 
with wire cages, in which are confined for the 
day the clerks who take account of advertise- 
ments and subscriptions. Melancholy objects 
seem these caged birds ; whose hands alone 
emerge at intervals through the pigeon-holes 
made for the purpose of taking in money 
and advertisements. The universal beard 
and moustachios that ornament their chins, 
look, however, more unbusiness-like than 
are the men really. They are shrewd and 
knowing birds that are enclosed in these wire 
cages. 

At publishing time, boys rushing in for 
papers, as in London offices, are not here to be 
seen. The reason of this is simple : French 
newspaper proprietors prefer doing their work 
themselves, they will have 110 middlemen. 
They serve all their customers by quarterly, 
yearly, or half-yearly subscriptions. In eveiy 
town in France there are subscription offices 
for this journal, as well, indeed, as for all 
great organs of the press generally. There 
are regular forms set up like registers at the 
Post-office, and all of these are gathered at 
the periodical renewal of subscriptions to the 
central office. The period of renewal is every 
fortnight. 

Passing still further up the narrow and dim 
passage, one sees a pigeon-hole, over which is 



Charles Dickens.] 



A PARIS NEWSPAPER. 



165 



written the word 'Advertisements.' This 
superscription is now supererogatory, for there 
no advertisements are received ; that branch 
of the journal having been farmed out to a 
Company at 350,000 fr. a-year. This is a sys- 
tem which evidently saves a vast deal of 
trouble. The Advertising Company of Paris 
has secured almost a monopoly of announce- 
ments and puffs. It has bought up the last 
page of nearly every Paris journal which 
owns the patronage and confidence of the 
advertising public of the French Capital. At 
the end ot the same dark passages, are the 
rooms special.' v used for the editors and 
writers. In France, journals are bought for 
their polemics, and not for their news : many 
of them have fallen considerably, however, 
from the high estate which they held in public 
opinion previous to the last revolution. There 
are men who wrote in them to advocate and 
enforce principles ; but in the chopping and 
changing times that France lives in, it is not 
unusual to find the same men with different 
principles, interest or gain being the object 
of each change. This result of revolution 
might have been expected ; and though it 
would be unfair to involve the whole press 
in a sweeping accusation, cases in point have 
been sufficiently numerous to cause a want of 
confidence in many quarters against the entire 
press. 

The doings of newspaper editors are not 
catalogued in print at Paris, as in America ; 
but their influence being more occult is not 
the less powerful, and it is this feeling 
that leads people to pay more attention 
to this or that leading article than to mere 
news. The announcement of a treaty having 
been concluded between certain powers of 
Europe, may not lower the funds ; but if an 
influential journal expresses an opinion that 
certain dangers are to be apprehended from the 
treaty in question, the exchanges will be in- 
stantly afiected. This is an instance amongst 
many that the French people are to be led in 
masses. Singly they have generally no ideas, 
either politically or commercially. 

The importance of a journal being chiefly 
centered in that portion specially devoted to 
politics, the writers of which are supposed 
right or wrong to possess certain influences, it 
is not astonishing the editorial offices have few 
occupants. The editorial department of the 
' Cunstitutionnel' wears a homely appearance, 
but borrows importance from the influence 
that is wielded in it writers decorated with 
the red ribbon are not unfrequently seen at 
work in it. In others, and especially in the 
editorial offices of some journals, may be seen, 
besides the pen, more offensive weapons, such 
as swords and pistols. This is another result 
of the personal system of journalism. As in 
America, the editor may find himself in the 
necessity of defending his arguments by arms. 
He is too notorious to be able to resort to 
the stratagem of a well-known wit, who kept 
a noted boxer in his front office to represent 



the editor in hostile encounters. He goes 
out, therefore, to fight a duel, on which some- 
times depends not only his own fate, but that 
of his journal. 

With regard to the personal power of a 
newspaper name, it is only necessary in order 
to show how frequently it still exists, to state 
that the Provisional Government of February, 
1848, was concocted in a newspaper office, and 
the revolution of 1830 was carried on by the 
editors of a popular journal that amongst 
the lower orders in France, at the present 
time, the names that are looked up to as those 
of chiefs, belong to newspaper editors, whose 
leading articles are read and listened to in 
cheap newspaper clubs, and whose " orders " 
are followed as punctually and as certainly as 
those of a general by his troops. A certain 
class of French politicians may be likened to 
sheep : they follow their " leaders." 

The smallness of the number of officials in 
a French newspaper office is to be accounted 
for from the fact that Parliamentary Debates 
a.re transcribed on the spot where the speeches 
are made ; and the reporting staff never stirs 
from the legislative assembly. The divers 
corps of reporters for Paris journals form a 
corporation, with its aldermen or syndici, 
and other minor officers. Each reporter is 
relieved every two minutes ; and whilst his 
colleagues are succeeding each other with the 
same rapidity, he transcribes the notes taken 
during his two minutes' ' turn.' The result 
of this revolving system is collated and ar- 
ranged by a gentleman selected for the pur- 
pose. This mode of proceeding ensures, if 
necessary, the most verbatim transmission 
of an important speech, and more equably 
divides the work, than does the English sys- 
tem, where each reporter takes notes for half 
or three-quarters of an hour, and spends two 
or three hours and sometimes four or five 
to transcribe his notes. The French Parlia- 
mentary reporter is not the dispassionate 
auditor, which the English one is. He ap- 
plauds or condemns the orators, cheers or 
hoots with all the vehemence of an excited 
partizan. 

' Penny-a-liners ' are unknown in Paris ; the 
foreign and home intelligence being elaborated 
in general news' offices, independent of the 
newspapers. It is there that all the provin- 
cial journals, are received, the news of the 
day gathered up, digested, and multiplied by 
means of lithography ; which is found more 
efficacious than the stylet and oiled ' flimsy ' 
paper of our Penny-a-liners. It is from these 
latter places too, that the country journals, 
as well as many of the foreign press, the 
German, the Belgium, and the Spanish, are 
supplied with Paris news. England is a good 
market, as most of our newspapers are wealthy 
enough to have correspondents of their 
own. 

My first visit to the ' Constitutionnel ' was 
in the day-time, and I caught the editor 
as he was looking over some of his proofs. 



166 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted bj 



Their curious appearance led me to ask 
how they were struck oft', and, in order to 
satisfy me, he led the way up a dark stair, 
from which we entered iipon the composing- 
rooms of the premises. Tliese, in appear- 
ance, were like all other composing-rooms 
that I had seen ; the forms, and cases for 
the type, were similar to those in London ; 
the men themselves had that worn and pale 
look which characterises the class to which 
they belong, and their pallor was not dimi- 
nished by their wearing of the long heard and 
moustache. Their unbuttoned shirts and 
bare breasts, the short clay pipe, reminded me 
of the heroes of the barricades ; indeed, I have 
every reason to know that these very com- 
positors are generally foremost in revolutions ; 
and though they often print ministerial arti- 
cles, they are not sharers in the opinions 
which they help to spread. The head printer 
contracts for the printing, and chooses his 
men where he can find them best. As a body, 
these men were provident, I was told, and all 
subscribed to a fund for their poor, their 
orphans and widows ; they form a sort of trade 
union, and have very strict regulations. 

I found a most remarkable want of con- 
venience in the working of the types. For 
instance, there were no galleys, or longitudinal 
trays, on which to place the type when it was 
set up ; but when a small quantity had been 
put together in column on a broad copper 
table, a string was passed round it to keep it 
together. Nor was there any hand-press for 
taking proofs ; and here I found the expla- 
nation of the extraordinary appearance of the 
proofs I had seen below. For when I asked 
to have one struck off, the head printer placed 
a sheet of paper over the type, and with a 
great brush beat it in, giving the proof a 
sunken and embossed appearance, which it 
seemed to me would render correction exceed- 
ingly difficult. The French, it seems, care 
not for improvement in this respect, any more 
than the Chinese, whom the brush has sei-ved 
in place of a- printing-press for some three 
thousand years. 

This Journal has, as I have said, from 
40,000 to 50,000 subscribers, in order to serve 
whom it was necessary that the presses should 
be at work as early as eleven o'clock at 
night. But there is no difficxilty in doing 
this, where news not being the wine qva, iioii 
of journalism, provincial and foreign intelli- 
gence is given as fresh, which in England 
would be considered imich behind in time. 
But even when commencing business at the 
early hour above mentioned, J found that it 
had been necessary for the paper to be com- 
posed twice over, in order to save time ; and 
thus two printers' establishments were re- 
quired to bring out each number of the 
journal in sufficient time for the country cir- 
culation by early morning trains. The neces- 
sity for this double composition is still > 
inmost of the French newspaper ofh'ces,but had 
been obviated here lately, by the erection of a 



new printing-machine, which sufficed by the 
speed of its working to print the given number 
of copies necessary for satisfying the wants of 
each (lay. 

Having seen through the promises, and 
witnessed all that was interesting in the day- 
time, I was politely requested to return in 
the evening, and see the remaining process of 
printing the paper and getting it ready to send 
out from the office. 

Punctually at eleven o'clock I was in the 
Rue du 24 Fevrier. Passing through the 
offices which I had seen in the morning, I 
was led by a sort of guide down some pas- 
sages dimly lighted with lamps. To the right 
and to the left we turned, descending stone 
steps into the bowels of the earth as it seemed 
to me ; the walls oozing with slimy damp in 
some parts ; dry and saltpetry in others. A 
bundle of keys, which were jingling in my 
guide's hand, made noises which reminded me 
of the description of prisoners going down 
into the Bastille or Tower. At another 
moment a sound of voices in the distance, 
reminded me of a scene of desperate coiners 
in a cellar. 

These sounds grew louder, as we soon 
entered a vast stone cellar, in which rudely 
dressed men, half-naked as to their breasts 
and arms, were to be seen flitting to and 
fro at the command of a superior ; their 
long beards and grimy faces, their short 
pipes and dirty appearance, made them look 
more like devils than men, and I bethought 
me that here, at last, I had found that real 
animal the printer's devil. There were two 
or three printing-presses in the room, only 
one of which was going. Its rolling sound 
was like thunder in the cave in which we 
stood. As paper after paper flew out from 
the sides of this creaking press, they were 
carried to a long table and piled up in heaps. 

Presently some of the stoutest men shoul- 
dered a mass of these, and my conductor and 
myself following them, we entered a passage 
which led to another cellar, contiguous to that 
in which the papers were printed. There, 
sitting round a number of tables, were several 
young women. These women, seized upon a 
portion of the papers brought in, and with 
an amazing rapidity folded them into a small 
compass. In a few minutes all the papers I 
had seen printed were folded and mimbered 
olf by dozens. Then comes another opera- 
tion : a man came round and deposited before 
each woman a bundle of little paper slips, 
which I found to be the addresses of the sub- 
scribers. The women placed the labels and 
the paste on one side, and commenced ope- 
rations. A bundle of papers, folded, was 
placed before each ; the forefinger, dipped in 
the paste, immediately touched the paper and 
the label simultaneously, and the ' Con- 
stitutionnel ' flew out with a speed perfectly 
astonishing from the hands of these women, 
ready to be distributed in town or country. 
They were then finishing the labelling of the 



Charles Dickens.] 



SHOET CUTS ACROSS THE GLOBE. 



167 



papers for Paris circulation ; 20,000 copies 
scarcely sufficing for the supply. 

This was the concluding sight in my visit 
to a Paris Newspaper-Office. 



LINES BY EGBERT SOUTHEY. 

[From an Unpublished Autograph.] 
The days of Infancy arc all a dream, 
How fair, but oh ! -how short they seem 
Tis Life's sweet opening SPRING ! 

The days of Youth advance : 

The bounding limb, the ardent glance, 

The kindling soul they bring 
It is Life's burning SUMMER time. 

Manhood matured -with wisdom's fruit, 
Reward of Learning's deep pursuit 
Succeeds, as AUTUMN follows Summer's prime. 

And that, and that, alas ! goes by ; 
And what ensues ? The languid eye, 
The failing frame, the soul o'ercast ; 
: Tis WINTER'S sickening, withering blast, 
Life s blessed season for it is the last. 



SHORT CUTS ACROSS THE GLOBE. 

THE ISTHMUS OF SUEZ. 



THAT little neck of land which lies between 
the head of the Red Sea and the Gulph of 
Gaza, in the Mediterranean, is the cause of 
merchandise circumnavigating the two longest 
sides of the triangular continent of Africa on 
its way to the East ; instead of making the 
short cut which is available for passengers by 
what is called the ' overland route.' If a 
water-way were opened across the Isthmus, 
the highway for the goods traffic as well as 
for the passenger traffic of Europe, India, 
China, and Australia, will be along the Medi- 
terranean and Red Seas and the Indian Ocean. 
And that highway will be so thronged,, that 
the expense of travelling by it will be reduced 
to a minimum, and the accommodations for 
travellers at intermediate stations raised to a 
ina.ximiim of comfort. 

This state of affairs analogous to that 
which occurs in the intercourse of two towns 
where there is a round-about road for carts 
and carriages, and a footpath across the 
meadows for foot-passengers only is attended 
by great inconveniences. Letters relating to 
mercantile transactions are forwarded by the 
short cut ; the merchandise to which they 
relate follows tardily by the round-about road. 
The advantageous bargain concluded now may 
have a very different aspect when the goods 
come to be delivered three or four months 
hence. The seven-league-boot expedition of 
letters, and the tardy progress of goods, con- 
vert all transactions between England and 
India into a game of chance. This fosters that 
spirit of gambling speculation already too rife 
among us. 

Again, so long as the route for passengers 
continues to be something different and apart 
from the route for merchandise, the travelling 
charges will be kept higher, and the accom- 



modations for travellers less comfortable than 
they would otherwise be. Railways, in ar- 
ranging their tariff of fares, venture to reduce 
the charge for passengers (in the hope of 
augmenting their number) when they can rely 
upon the returns from the goods traffic to 
make up deficiencies. If merchandise, as well 
as travellers and letters, could be carried by 
what is called the overland route (of which 
scarcely two hundred miles are travelled by 
land), the passengers' fares would admit of 
great reduction ; and as that route would thus 
become the great highway, frequented by 
greater crowds, the accommodation of tra- 
vellers could be better cared for. Travellers 
in carriages rarely reflect how much the amoimt 
of charges at inns depends upon the landlords 
having a profitable run of business among less 
distinguished guests. 

As we remarked, when descanting on the 
Panama route, physical obstacles to the open- 
ing of short cuts are of much less consequence 
than those which originate in financial diffi- 
culties. Almost any 'physical obstacles may 
be overcome, if money can be profitably in- 
vested in the undertaking, and if money can 
be got for such investment. 

Were we projectors of companies, and en- 
gaged in preparing an attractive prospectus, 
we might boldly declare that the obstacles in 
the construction of a ship canal at Suez are 
trifling, and that the work would prove amply 
remunerative. But being only impartial 
spectators, we are obliged to confess that our 
information respecting the nature of the 
country is lamentably defective, and that what 
we do know does not warrant any sanguine 
expectation. Public attention has been in- 
dustriously directed from the true line of a 
ship canal across the Isthmus of Suez. The 
late Mehemet Ali peace to his ashes ! was 
a humbug of the first water, and he knew 
how to avail himself of the services of kindred 
spirits. He understood enough of European 
whims and sentiments to know what tone 
of language he must adopt in order to per- 
suade Europeans he was subserving their 
views, while he was, in reality, promoting his 
own. He talked, therefore, of facilitating the 
intercourse between India and Europe, but 
he thought of making that intercourse pass 
through his dominions by the longest route, 
and in the way which would oblige travellers 
to leave the greatest possible amount of 
money behind them ; and to attain his ends he 
retained in his service a motley group of 
Europeans the vain, the ignorant, and the 
jobbing, who 'did his spiriting after a fashion 
that bears conclusive testimony to his judg- 
ment and tact in selecting them. 

What is really wanted for the commerce of 
Europe and India, is a ship canal across the 
Isthmus of Suez, by the shortest and least 
difficult route. What Mehemet Ali conceded 
was a land passage through his dominions 
by the longest possible route. The natural 
course of a ship canal is, in a straight line, 



168 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



from Suez to the eastern extremity of Lake 
Meuzaleh : the line of transit conceded by Me- 
hemet Ali is from Alexandria by Cairo to Suez, 
nearly three times as long. The former line 
passes across a low and well- watered region : 
the latter renders necessary an interchange 
of canal and river navigation, and dry land 
passage across the desert. The former might 
be passed in a day without halting : the latter 
occupies several days, and includes necessary 
stoppages in the inns of Alexandria and 
Cairo. But Mehemet Ali and his tools di- 
rected attention from the former, and gabbled 
about railways and other impracticabilities, 
and the European public was gulled. Egypt 
can be reached any day by a fortnight's easy 
and luxurious travel, and yet the country 
between the eastern extremity of Lake Meii- 
zaleh and Suez is less accurately known than 
the Isthmus of Panama. 

What we do know, with any degree of cer- 
tainty about this transit, is briefly as follows : 
The navigation of the Bed Sea in the 
vicinity of Suez is rather intricate, abounding 
in shoals, but there is secure anchorage, and 
sufficient draft of water for merchant ships 
of considerable burden. The Mediterranean 
off the eastern extremity of Lake Menzaleh 
is rather shallow, tolerably sheltered from the 
west wind, which prevails for a part of the 
year, out exposed to the north wind. Between 
Suez and the site of the ruins of Pelusium at 
the eastern end of the lake, the land is low 
and level, apparently for a part of the way 
between the level of both seas. The low land 
receives in the wet season the drainings of the 
high laud on the east, which is a northern 
continuation of the mountains between the 
gulfs of Suez and Akaba. In addition to 
this, the land to the westward (northward 
of the Mokattam mountains which terminate 
near Cairo) has a twofold slope, the principal 
northward to the Mediterranean, the se- 
condary eastward to the line of country we 
are now describing. Originally, there appears 
to have been a branch of the Nile entering 
the Mediterranean near where the ruins of 
Pelusium now are, and those intermediate 
branches between that and the Damietta 
branch. 

The first mentioned is now closed, the other 
two very much obstructed ; but their waters 
still find a way to the coast, though diminished 
by artificial works, and appear to be the cause 
of the collection of shallow water called Lake 
Menzaleh. Here, then, we have sixty geo- 
graphical miles of a low country, with no 
considerable undulations, towards which the 
waters of Arabia Petrsea flow in their season, 
and towards which a considerable portion of the 
waters of the Nile would flow if left to fall on 
the natural declivity of the country. There is 
an abundant supply of water for a ship canal. 
The surface of the ground is in some places 
covered with drift sand, but not uniformly 
nor even for the most part. The subsoil is 
hard, clayey or pebbley. The bent-grasses 



might be cultivated, as they have been in 
1 1 ul land, to give firmness to the drift sand 
where it occurs ; and this superficial obstacle 
removed, the subsoil is favourable to the con- 
st ruction of a permanent water- channel. The 
great difficulty would be the construction of 
works by which access to the canal is to be 
ol >tained from the Mediterranean. Apparently 
they would require to be carried far out iiito 
the sea ; and apparently it would be difficult 
to prevent their being sanded up by the waves 
which the north winds drive upon the coast 
for a great part of the year. 

These difficulties, though great, are not 
insuperable. The advanced state of marine 
architecture and engineering ought surely to 
be able to cope with them. By re-opening the 
Pelusiac branch of the Nile, and throwing 
into it the waters which would naturally find 
their way into the Tam'tic and Mendesian 
branches, a sufficient stream of water might 
be thrown into the Mediterranean at Pe- 
lusium to keep a passage open by its scour. 
We must speak with diffidence about a locality 
which has yet been so imperfectly surveyed ; 
but so far as the present state of our know- 
ledge respecting it enables us to judge, there 
are no serious impediments to the construction 
of a ship canal from Pelusium to Suez, which 
would be perfectly accessible and practicable 
for vessels of from 300 to 350 tons burden ; 
and there is a growing impression among 
merchants and skippers that this class of 
vessels is the best for trading purposes. 

But the great difficulty remains yet to be 
noticed ; the condition of government and 
civil security in that country. The isthmus 
is close on the borders of civilised Europe, 
and ample supplies of effective labourers could 
be procured from Malta, and the Syrian and 
African coasts. But so long as the country is 
subject to a Turkish djoiasty, could the under- 
takers count upon fair play and sufficient pro- 
tection from the local authorities ? And are 
the jealous powers of Europe likely to com- 
bine in good faith to afford them a guarantee 
that they should be enabled to prosecute 
their enterprise in security ? 



CURIOUS EPITAPH. 

The following curious Inscription appears in the 
Churchyard, Pewsey, Wiltshire : 

HERE LIES THE BODY 
OF 

LADY O'LOONEY, 

GREAT NIECE OP BURKE, 

COMMONLY CALLED THE SUBLIME. 

SHE WAS 

BLAND, PASSIONATE, AND DEEPLY RELIGIOUS; 

ALSO, SHE TAINTED 

IN WATER-COLOURS, 

AND SENT SEVERAL PICTURES 

TO THE EXHIBITION. 

SHE WAS FIRST COUSIN 

TO LADY JONES ; 

AND OF SUCH 
IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. 



Published at the Office, No 16 Wellington Street North, Strand. Printed by Bn 



YTbitefriar*, Ixmdon. 



'Familiar in their Mouths as HOUSEHOLD WORDS." SHAKESPEARE. 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 

A WEEKLY JOTJKNAL 
CONDUCTED BY CHARLES DICKENS. 



NO. 8 .] 



SATURDAY, MAY 18, 1850. 



THE BEGGING-LETTEE WRITER. 



HE is a ' Household Word.' We all know 
something of him. The amount of money he 
annually diverts from wholesome and useful 
purposes in the United Kingdom, would be a 
set-off against the Window Tax. He is one 
of the most shameless frauds and impositions 
of this time. In his idleness, his mendacity, 
and the immeasurable harm he does to the 
deserving, dirtying the stream of true bene- 
volence, and muddling the brains of foolish 
justices, with inability to distinguish between 
the base coin of distress, and the true currency 
we have always among us, he is more worthy 
of Norfolk Island than three-fourths of the 
worst characters who are sent there. Under 
any rational system, he would have been sent 
there long ago. 

I, the writer of this paper, have been, for 
some time, a chosen receiver of Begging 
Letters. For fourteen years, my house has 
been made as regular a Receiving House for 
such communications as any one of the great 
branch Post-Offices is for general correspond- 
ence. I ought to know something of the 
Begging-Letter Writer. He has besieged my 
door, at all hours of the day and night ; he 
has fought my servant ; lie has lain in ambush 
for me, going out and coming in ; he has 
followed me out of town into the country ; he 
has appeared at provincial hotels, where I 
have been staying for only a few hours ; he 
has written to me from immense distances, 
when I have been out of England. He has 
fallen sick ; he has died, and been buried ; he 
has come to life again, and again departed 
from this transitory scene ; he has been his 
own son, his own mother, his own baby, his 
idiot brother, his uncle, his aunt, his aged 
grandfather. He has wanted a great coat, to 
go to India in ; a pound, to set him up in life 
for ever ; a pair of boots, to take him to the 
coast of China ; a hat, to get him into a perma- 
nent situation under Government. He has 
frequently been exactly seven-and-sixpence 
short of independence. He has had such 
openings at Liverpool posts of great trust 
and confidence in merchants' houses, which 
nothing but seven-and-sixpence was wanting to 
him to secure that I wonder he is not Mayor 
of that nourishing town at the present moment. 

The natural phenomena of which he has 



been the victim, are of a most astounding 
nature. He has had two children, who have 
never grown up ; who have never had anything 
to cover them at night ; who have been conti- 
nually driving him mad, by asking in vain for 
food ; who have never come out of fevers and 
measles (which, I suppose, has accounted for 
his fuming his letters with tobacco smoke, as 
a disinfectant) ; who have never changed in 
the least degree, through fourteen long re- 
volving years. As to his wife, what that suf- 
fering woman has undergone, nobody knows. 
She has always been in an interesting situation 
through the same long period, and has never 
been confined yet. His devotion to her has 
been unceasing. He has never cared for 
himself; he could have perished he would 
rather, in short but; was it not his Christian 
duty as a man, a husband, and a father, to 
write begging letters when he looked at her 1 
(He has usually remarked that he would call 
in the evening for an answer to this question.) 

He has been the sport of the strangest mis- 
fortunes. What his brother has done to him 
would have broken anybody else's heart. His 
brother went into business with him, and ran 
away with the money ; his brother got him to 
be security for an immense sum, and left him 
to pay it ; his brother would have given him 
employment to the tune of hundreds a-year, if 
he would have consented to write letters on a 
Sunday ; his brother enunciated principles 
incompatible with his religious views, and he 
could not (in consequence) permit his brother 
to provide for him. His landlord has never 
shown a spark of human feeling. When he 
put in that execution I don't know, but he 
has never taken it out. The broker's man has 
grown grey in possession. They will have to 
bury him some day. 

He has been attached to every conceivable 
pursuit. He has been in the army, in the 
navy, in the church, in the law ; connected 
with the press, the fine arts, public institu- 
tions, every description and grade of business. 
He has been brought up as a gentleman ; he 
has been at every college in Oxford and 
Cambridge ; he can quote Latin in his letters 
(but generally mis-spells some minor English 
word) ; lie can tell you what Shakespeare says 
about begging, better than you know it. It is 
to be observed, that in the midst of his afflic- 
tions he always reads the newspapers ; and 



170 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



rounds off his appeals with some allusion, that 
may be supposed to be in my way, to the 
popular subject of the hour. 

His life presents a series of inconsistencies. 
Sometimes he has never written such a letter 
before. He blushes with shame. That is the 
first time ; that shall be the last. Don't 
answer it, and let it be understood that, then, 
he will kill himself quietly. Sometimes (and 
more frequently) he has written a few such 
letters. Then he encloses the answers, with 
an intimation that they are of inestimable 
value to him, and a request that they may be 
carefully returned. He is fond of enclosing 
something verses, letters, pawnbrokers' du- 
plicates, anything to necessitate an answer. 
He is very severe upon ' the pampered minion 
of fortune,' who refused him the half-sovereign 
referred to in the enclosure number two but 
he knows me better. 

He writes in a variety of styles ; sometimes 
in low spirits ; sometimes quite jocosely. 
When he is in low spirits, he writes down-hill, 
and repeats words these little indications 
being expressive of the perturbation of his 
mind. When he is more vivacious, he is frank 
with me ; he is quite the agreeable rattle. 
1 know what human nature is, who better 1 
Well ! He had a little money once, and he ran 
through it as many men have done before 
him. He finds his old friends turn away from 
him now many men have done that before 
him, too ! Shall he tell me why he writes to 
me ? Because he has no kind of claim upon me. 
He puts it on that gi'ound, plainly ; and begs 
to ask for the loan (as I know human nature) 
of two sovereigns, to be repaid next Tuesday 
six weeks, before twelve at noon. 

Sometimes, when he is sure that I have 
found liim out, and that there is no chance of 
money, he writes to inform me that I have 
got rid of him at last. He has enlisted into 
the Company's service, and is off directly 
but he wants a cheese. He is informed by the 
Serjeant that it is essential to his prospects in 
the regiment that he should take out a single- 
Gloucester cheese, weighing from twelve to 
fifteen pounds. Eight or nine shillings would 
buy it. He does not ask for money, after what 
has passed ; but if he calls at nine to-morrow 
morning, may he hope to find a cheese ? And 
is there anything he can do to show his gra- 
titude in Bengal 1 

Once, he wrote me rather a special letter 
proposing relief in kind. He had got into a 
little trouble by leaving parcels of mud done 
up in brown paper, at people's houses, on 
pretence of being a Eailway-Porter, in which 
character he received carriage money. This 
sportive fancy he expiated in the House of 
Correction. Not long after his release, and on 
a Sunday morning, he called with a letter 
(having first dusted himself all over), in 
which he gave me to understand that, being 
resolved to earn an honest livelihood, he had 
been travelling about the country with a cart 
of crockery. That he had been doing pretty 



well, until the day before, when his horse had 
dropped down dead near Chatham, in Kent. 
That this had reduced him to the unpleasant 
necessity of getting into the shafts himself, 
and drawing the cart of crockery to London 
a somewhat exhausting pull of thirty miles. 
That he did not venture to ask again for 
money ; but that if I would have the good- 
ness to leave him out a donkey, he would call 
for the animal before breakfast ! 

At another time, my friend (I am describing 
actual experiences) introduced himself as a 
literary gentleman in the last extremity of 
distress. He had had a play accepted at a 
certain Theatre which was really open ; its 
representation was delayed by the indispo- 
sition of a leading actor who was really ill ; 
and he and his were in a state of absolute 
starvation. If he made his necessities known 
to the Manager of the Theatre, he put it to 
me to say what kind of treatment he might 
expect ? Well ! we got over that difficulty to 
our mutual satisfaction. A little while after- 
wards he was in some other strait I think 
Mrs. Southcote, his wife, was in extremity 
and we adjusted that point too. A little 
while afterwards, he had taken a new house, 
and was going headlong to ruin for want of a 
water-butt. I had my misgivings about the 
water-butt, and did not reply to that epistle. 
But, ,a little while afterwards, I had reason to 
feel penitent for my neglect. He wrote me 
a few broken-hearted Lines, informing me that 
the dear partner of his sorrows died in his 
arms last night at nine o'clock ! 

I dispatched a trusty messenger to comfort 
the bereaved mourner and his poor children : 
but the messenger went so soon, that the play 
was not ready to be played out ; my friend 
was not at home, and his wife was hi a most 
delightful state of health. He was taken up 
by the Mendicity Society (informally it after- 
wards appeared), and I presented myself at 
a London Police-Office with my testimony 
against him. The Magistrate was wonder- 
fully struck by his educational acquirements, 
deeply impressed by the excellence of his 
letters, exceedingly sorry to see a man of his 
attainments there, complimented him highly 
on his powers of composition, and was quite 
charmed to have the agreeable duty of dis- 
charging him. A collection was made for the 
' poor fellow,' as he was called in the reports, 
and I left the court with a comfortable sense 
of being universally regarded as a sort of 
monster. Next day, comes to me a friend 
of mine, the governor of a large prison, ' Why 
did you ever go to the Police-Office against 
that man,' says he, ' without coming to me 
first ? I know all about him and his frauds. 
He lodged in the house of one of my warders, at 
the very time when he first wrote to you ; and 
then he was eating spring-lamb at eighteen- 
pence a pound, and early asparagus at I 
don't know how much a bundle ! ' On that 
very same day, and in that very same hour, 
my injured gentleman wrote a solemn address 



Charles Dicltens.j 



THE BEGGING-LETTER WRITER. 



171 



to me, demanding to know what compensation 
I proposed to make him for his having 
passed the night in a 'loathsome dungeon.' 
And next morning, an Irish gentleman, a 
member of the same fraternity, who had read 
the case, and was very well persuaded I 
should be chary of going to that Police-Office 
again, positively refused to leave my door for 
less than a sovereign, and, resolved to besiege 
me into compliance, literally ' sat down' before 
it for ten mortal hours. The garrison being 
well provisioned, I remained within the walls ; 
and he raised the siege at midnight, with a 
prodigious alarum on the bell. 

The Begging-Letter "Writer often has an ex- 
tensive circle of acquaintance. Whole pages 
of the Court Guide are ready to be refer- 
ences for him. Noblemen and gentlemen 
write to say there never was such a man for 
probity and virtue. They have known him, 
time out of mind, and there is nothing they 
wouldn't do for him. Somehow, they don't 
give him that one pound ten he stands in 
need of ; but perhaps it is not enough they 
want to do more, and his modesty will not 
allow it. It is to be remarked of his trade that 
it is a very fascinating one. He never leaves 
it ; and those who are near to him become 
smitten with a love of it, too, and sooner or 
later set up for themselves. He employs a 
messenger man, woman, or child. That 
messenger is certain ultimately to become an 
independent Begging-Letter Writer. His sons 
and daughters succeed to his calling, and 
write begging-letters when he is no more. 
He throws off the infection of begging-letter 
writing, like the contagion of disease. What 
Sydney Smith so happily called 'the dan- 
gerous luxury of dishonesty ' is more tempt- 
ing, and more catching, it would seem, in 
this instance than in any other. 

He always belongs to a Corresponding- 
Society of Begging-Letter Writers. Any one 
who will, may ascertain this fact. Give money 
to day, in recognition of a begging-letter, no 
matter how unlike a common begging-letter, 
and for the next fortnight you will have a 
rush of such communications. Steadily re- 
fuse to give ; and the begging- letters become 
Angels' visits, until the Society is from some 
cause or other in a dull way of business, and 
may as well try you as anybody else. It 
is of little use enquiring into the Begging- 
Letter Writer's circumstances. He may be 
sometimes accidentally found out, as in the 
case already mentioned (though that was not 
the first enquiry made) ; but apparent misery 
is always a part of his trade, and real misery 
very often is, in the intervals of spring-lamb and 
early asparagus. It is naturally an incident 
of his dissipated and dishonest life. 

That the calling is a successful one, and 
that large sums of money are gained by it, 
must be evident to anybody who reads the 
Police Reports of such cases. But, prosecutions 
are of rare occurrence, relatively to the ex- 
tent to which the trade is carried on. The 



cause of this, is to be found (as no one knows 
better than the Begging-Letter Writer, for it 
is a part of his speculation) in the aversion 
people feel to exhibit themselves as having 
been imposed upon, or as having weakly 
gratified their consciences with a lazy, flimsy 
substitute for the noblest of all virtues. There 
is a man at large, at the moment when this 
paper is preparing for the press (on the 
29th of April), and never once taken up yet, 
who, within these twelvemonths, has been 
probably the most audacious and the most 
successful swindler that even this trade has 
ever known. There has been something 
singularly base in this fellow's proceedings : 
it has been his business to write to all sorts 
and conditions of people, in the names of 
persons of high reputation and unblemished 
honor, professing to be in distress the general 
admiration and respect for whom, has en- 
sured a ready and generous reply. 

Now, in the hope that the results of the real 
experience of a real person may do something 
more to induce reflection on this subject than 
any abstract treatise and with a personal 
knowledge of the extent to which the Begging- 
Letter Trade has been carried on for some 
time, and has been for some time constantly 
increasing the writer o f this paper entreats 
the attention of his readers to a few con- 
cluding words. His experience is a type of 
the experience of many ; some on a smaller ; 
some on an infinitely larger scale. All may 
judge of the soundness or unsoundness of his 
conclusions from it. 

Long doubtful of the efficacy of such assist- 
ance in any case whatever, and able to recal 
but one, within his whole individual know- 
ledge, in which he had the least after-reason 
to suppose that any good was done by it, he 
was led, last autumn, into some serious con- 
siderations. The begging-letters flying about 
by every post, made it perfectly manifest, That 
a set of lazy vagabonds were interposed between 
the general desire to do something to relieve 
the sickness and misery under which the 
poor were suffering ; and the suffering poor 
themselves. That many who sought to do 
some little to repair the social wrongs, in- 
flicted in the way of preventible sickness 
and death vipon the poor, were strengthen- 
ing those wrongs, however innocently, by 
wasting money on pestilent knaves cum- 
bering society. That imagination, -soberly 
following one of these knaves into his life of 
punishment in jail, and comparing it with the 
life of one of these poor in a cholera-stricken 
alley, or one of the children of one of these poor, 
soothed in its dying hour by the late lamented 
Mr. Drouet, contemplated a grim farce, im- 
possible to be presented very much longer 
before God or man. That the crowning miracle 
of all the miracles summed up in the New Tes- 
tament, after the miracle of the blind seeing, 
and the lame walking, and the restoration of the 
dead to life, was the miracle that the poor had 
the Gospel preached to them. That while the 



172 



HOUSEHOLD WOEDS. 



.Conducted by 



poor were unnaturally and unnecessarily cut 
off by the thousand, in the prematurity of 
their age, or in the rottenness of their youth 
for of flower or blossom such youth has 
none the Gospel was NOT preached to them, 
saving in hollow and unmeaning voices. That 
of all wrongs, this was the first mighty wrong 
the Pestilence warned us to set right. And that 
no Post-Office Order to any amount, given to 
a Begging-Letter Writer for the quieting of 
an uneasy breast, would be presentable on 
the Last Great Day as anything towards it. 

The poor never write these letters. Nothing 
could be more unlike their habits. The 
writers are public robbers ; and we who 
support them are parties to their depreda- 
tions. They trade upon every circumstance 
within their knowledge that affects us, public 
or private, joyful or sorrowful ; they pervert 
the lessons of our lives ; they change what 
ought to be our strength and virtue, into 
weakness, and encouragement of vice. There 
is a plain remedy, and it is in our own hands. 
We must resolve, at any sacrifice of feeling, 
to be deaf to such appeals, and crush the 
trade. 

There are degrees hi murder. Life must 
be held sacred among us in more ways than 
one sacred, not merely from the murderous 
weapon, or the subtle poison, or the cruel 
blow, but sacred from preventible diseases, dis- 
tortions, and pains. That is the first great 
end we have to set against this miserable im- 
position. Physical life respected, moral life 
comes next. What will not content a Beg- 
ging-Letter Writer for a week, would educate 
a score of children for a year. Let us give all 
we can ; let us give more than ever. Let us 
do all we can ; let us do more than ever. But 
let us give, and do, with a high purpose ; not 
to endow the scum of the earth, to its own 
greater corruption, with the offals of our duty. 



THE GREAT CAT AND DOG 
QUESTION. 

BETWEEN the rivers Kistnah and Beehma 
in the Deckhan, surrounded by wild rocky 
hills, lies the town of Shorapoor, capital of a 
state of that name, inhabited by a people who 
have generally been considered lawless, super- 
stitious, and quarrelsome. Of late years they 
have been more industrious and peaceable, and 
though still an excitable race, may be said to 
be advancing in the arts of peace. 

It was during a more remote period, when 
few strangers ever ventured to penetrate 
the country, that a weary-looking traveller, 
covered with dust, entered one of the gates, 
and sat down for awhile at the side of a well. 
He then proceeded to take off his waistband 
and turban, washed his head and his feet, 
drank of the cool refreshing water, combed 
his beard and moustachios, and spreading a 
small carpet on which he laid his trusty sword, 
drew from his wallet a neat little niuslin skull- 
cap ; then seated himself cross-legged, lighted 



his pipe, and began to look very comfortable 
indeed. 

In the mean time there were not wanting 
many idle and curious people, who having 
first at a distance observed the movements of 
the stranger, approached him nearer and 
nearer. But he seemed to take little notice 
of the crowd, and appeared absorbed in a 
sense of his own enjoyment, taking long whiffs 
of his pipe, and looking as if he had made a con- 
siderable progress towards the third heaven. 

At length a respectable looking man, who 
had come up, drew nearer than the rest, and 
asked him from whence he had travelled, and 
whither he was going 1 What he was seeking 
in Shorapoor, and whether he was a merchant, 
or merely came to look about him 1 But the 
questions ended in smoke, being answered 
only by whiffs. 

Then came another still bolder man, and 
said, ' Sir, the heat is great ; be pleased to 
come with me to my house, and repose your- 
self there, and I will give you a nice cool 
place in which you may sleep.' 

Upon this the stranger drew his pipe from 
his mouth, and replied, ' You are extremely 
kind, good Sir, and I am really grateful to 
you for your proffered hospitality ; but the 
fact is, I don't believe you would wish to have 
me in your house, did you know what I 
really am ! ' 

And thus saying, he rolled his eyes about, 
twisted up his moustachios, stroked his beard, 
and assumed such a mysterious air, that an 
indescribable terror seized the bystanders ; so 
much so, that in falling hastily back, some of 
them tumbled down, and others tumbled over 
them in a very ridiculous manner. 

' He 's a thief,' whispered one. ' Or a 
Thug,' said another. ' Or an evil spirit in 
the form of a man,' observed a fourth. ' At 
all events, doesn't he look like one who had 
killed another ? ' 

In short the alarm became general, and 
several deemed it prudent, first to sneak off, 
and then take to their heels. A few, however, 
of the bolder spirits kept their ground ; and 
seeing that the stranger did nothing but take 
long whiffs from his pipe, sending the smoke 
peacefully curling over his beard and mous- 
tachios out of both his nostrils, they regained 
their confidence, and began to think that after 
all he might be some important personage ; 
who could tell ? So after a little pushing and 
elbowing among themselves, a man was thrust 
forward, under an idea that something might 
come of it ; but no, the stranger appeared as 
unmoved as ever. 

Then another, who had screwed up his 
courage to that point, boldly advanced, and 
thus spoke 

' Do pray, Sir, tell us who upon earth you 
may be '] ' No answer. 

Then the man who had offered a sleeping 
place in his house chimed in, and said, ' Aye, 
Sir, do let us know who or what you may be ? 
I assure you we are none of us at all afraid of 



Cliurles Dickcns.l 



THE GEEAT CAT AND DOG QUESTION. 



173 



you ! ' And with these words he twisted up 
his moustachios, and tried to look as fierce 
and bold as possible, while his knees were 
knocking together, and his heart fluttering all 
the while. On a repetition of these questions, 
however, by both these men, the stranger, 
with infinite gravity, took the pipe from his 
mouth, and thus spoke : 

' Are you not too much frightened to hear ? ' 

The runaways, however, had departed, and 
those left behind seemed determined not to 
follow them ; more especially as the stranger 
had made no sign as if he would draw his 
sword ; neither did they think he looked at 
all so horrible now. They therefore one and 
all called out, ' No ! we are not a bit afraid, 
let us hear ! ' 

' Well then,' exclaimed the stranger, taking 
a long puff at his pipe, 'strange as it may 
appear to you all, my name is MISCHIEF- 
MAKER ! And what is very extraordinary, 
whatever I do, wherever I go, wherever I am, 
I always create mischief, I always have created 
mischief, and shall continue to do so to the 
very end of my life ! ' And upon this he 
rolled his eyes, and puffed away at his pipe 
harder than ever. 

' Oh, is this all,' cried the party, ' is this all ? ' 

'For the matter of that,' said an active 
little man with twinkling eyes, ' you need be 
under no uneasiness whatever. I defy you to 
invent more mischief here than we have 
already, for we are all more or less at enmity 
with our neighbours ; and as our fathers and 
grandfathers were the same, we conclude it 
must be owing to something that can't be 
changed ; for instance, the air or water of our 
town ; so set your heart at rest, and come 
along with us, and we '11 take care of you.' 

' Well,' rejoined the stranger, ' I am very 
glad indeed to hear what you say of your own 
town ; for to be candid with you, it 's exactly 
what I heard of you all as I came along, and 
this made me think that in a place where all 
were mischief-makers and busybodies already, 
I could have nothing to do but (for once in 
my life) live in peace. However, don't trust 
me that 's all I have to say and if any evil 
arises from my visit, turn me out, and I '11 
seek a home elsewhere.' 

An old Brahmin had come up in time to 
hear this avowal. ' 'Tis very strange,' said 
the wise man. ' This fellow is surely a magi- 
cian, and may set all the rocks of Shorapoor 
dancing and tumbling about our ears, some 
day. Turn him instantly away, or it may be 
the worse for us all.' 

' No, no,' shouted the nraltitude. ' That 
would be inhospitable. Let him remain, and 
we shall soon see what he can do.' 

The little active man now came forward 
again, and said slyly, ' Sir, if you really are 
such a mischief-maker as you describe yourself 
to be, suppose you were to give us a little 
specimen of your power, just some trifling 
matter to judge by.' 

'What, now ?' said the stranger. 



' Aye, now f ' exclaimed all ; ' and the sooner 
the better.' 

' Well, be it so,' said he ; ' let me put up my 
things and come along !' And with this he 
arose, packed up, girded on his sword, and 
strode majestically forward, followed by a 
crowd continually increasing as they advanced 
further into the town. 

'Now don't push or press upon me so 
much,' said the stranger ; ' but observe what 
I do, and watch the consequences.' So they 
let him proceed, and as he advanced, they 
soon perceived that he was forming some 
deep plan, particularly as he paused every 
now and then, with his forefinger between 
his teeth, and nodded, and wagged his head, 
as much as to say, ' I have it ! ' Upon which 
he made straight for a shop kept by a man 
who sold flour and such like things, and ac- 
costing the dealer, inquired with great civility, 
whether he had any honey ? ' That I have, 
Sir, replied the shop-keeper, plenty fresh 
from the comb ; only taste it, and I 'm sure 
you '11 buy. Here, Sir ; look at this beautiful 
jar, full of the finest honey that was ever seen 
in Shorapoor.' 

' It looks well,' replied the stranger, dipping 
his hand in ; ' and does not taste amiss : ' 
saying which he gave his finger a careless 
kind of shake ; but he knew right well what 
he was about, as a little lump stuck upon the 
outer wall. 

' It really is good,' said the Mischief-Maker. 
' Give me a small pot of it, that I may take 
it home to my children.' 

While the shop-keeper was filling a small 
new pot, over which he tied a fresh green 
leaf, the people who had been following, came 
up, and said, ' Sir, you are only making game 
of us ; you are giving us no proof of what 
you said. What mischief is there in buying 
a little pot of honey ?' 

' Be quiet, my good people, and content 
yourselves for a couple of minutes, while I 
get my change, and put my purchase in a 
safe place, and you will soon see something 
wait here, and I '11 be back to you directly.' 
The Mischief-Maker vanished in an instant ! 

Now it happened that this shop was a mere 
shed of a place, projecting into the street, 
from the wall on which the honey had been, 
thrown ; nor had the tempting bait been long 
there, before it was smelt out by a large 
hungry fly, which had been spending many 
fruitless hours buzzing about the dealer's jar, 
so carefully was it always covered. Here was 
a glorious opportunity for a fine supper, and 
down he came upon it with eager appetite 
without looking about him as he ought for 
over his head, under the cover of the wall, 
among old chinks and cobwebs, there dwelt a 
wily, dust-coloured lizard, who enjoyed a fly 
beyond everything else in the world, and had 
been particularly unsuccessful in fly-catching 
all day. Watching, therefore, till the fly had 
buried his mining apparatus pretty deep in 
the honey, he crept down quietly, looking as 



174 



HOUSEHOLD WOEDS. 



[Conducted by 



like a bit of old plaster as possible, but for 
those bright eyes of his, which in liis eager- 
ness for the capture, were intently fixed upon 
the fly. Unlucky wight ! Little did he tliink 
that those very eyea had attracted the at- 
tention of a fine tabby cat, who but a few 
minutes before, with blinking eyes, presented 
a perfect picture of contentment, but now 
roused by a sudden temptation, was crouching 
.stealthily down as she beheld the lizard, for 
whom she had so often watched in vain. 
Down stole the lizard on stole the cat ; ao 
that here at the same moment were three 
creatures so bent upon indulgence, that they 
never even thought of looking about them ! 
But were these three all the parties to be 
engaged ? Alas ! no. There was a sworn 
enemy of the cat's approaching also (under 
cover of a large basket), hi the shape of a mis- 
chievous white dog, kept by a very quarrel- 
some man on the other side of the street. 
This dog was the terror of all the cats in 
the neighbourhood, and most of all, of the 
flour-dealer's ; so often had he chased her, 
and so often experienced the bitter disap- 
pointment of seeing her climbing up the 
posts of the shop, and then spitting at him 
from the top of the shed. 

Infatuated lizard ! Wretched fly ! Betrayed 
pussy ! She heeded not the sly creep of the 
dog, so intent was she upon the successful 
issue of her spring upon the lizard. The fly 
was gorging himself with honey. He alone 
partook not of the intense anxiety of the 
lizard, the cat, and the dog. He partook only 
of honey ! 

The crisis at length arrived. The lizard 
made its nimble pounce at the fly. The cat 
sprang at the lizard. The lizard missed its 
footing in consequence, and would have been 
the cat's portion fly, honey, and all but for 
the dog's sudden attack tipoii puss. Here 
was a scene ! The lizard falling to the ground, 
was at once involved in the consequences of 
the quarrel between the dog and cat. What 
were fly or honey to him at the moment, 
when in a state between life and death he 
crept back sore and wounded to his chinks 
and cobwebs ! The fly might or might not 
have escaped. Not so the cat, now sorely 
worried by the dog, in spite of all her out- 
cries and all she could do hi the way of biting 
and clawing ; for it was an old score the dog 
was paying her off, and that might soon have 
cost her her life, if her master had not rushed 
out of his shop with a broom-stick, with 
which he began to belabour the dog. 

Now the owner of the dog had been as long 
at enmity with the man of flour and honey, 
as the dog had been at enmity with the cat, 
and probably longer. Of course, therefore, 
when he heard his animal's cries, and saw 
the punishment inflicting, he armed himself 
with a broomstick also ; and rushing across 
the street, gave the flour-dealer such a crack 
upon his hc-ad, as knocked him down as flat as 
a pancake. 



' Take that you villain,' said he, ' for it 's a 
debt I 've long owed you ! ' 

' Have you '] ' said the flour-dealer's son, as 
he rushed out with a cudgel in his hand. 
' Then tell me how you like tha? giving him 
such a hearty whack across the shoulders, 
that he was fain to drop his broomstick. 

Yet the blow had hardly been given, before 
a friend of the dog's master ran up with a 
drawn sword, and would have made mince- 
meat of the flour-dealer's son, but for a soldier 
who cried out, ' Shame, thou coward, and son of 
a coward, who would attack a youth with only 
a stick in his hand, and you armed with a 
sword ! Shame on you ! It 's just like you 
rascally Hindoo fellows, who pretend to be 
soldiers, and are as much like soldiers as that 
poor cat. Why don't you try me ? ' 

' Why not ? ' replied the man. ' Do you think 
I 'm afraid of such a bully as you ? Come on, 
you scoundrel, and I '11 show you what differ- 
ence there is between a cat and a Hindoo ! ' 

Upon this the soldier drew his sword, and 
both began to cut at each other in good 
earnest. 

On this all the people cried out, ' Murder ! 
Murder ! ' and a great many soldiers running 
to the spot, were soon engaged, always attack- 
ing the Hindoos, who were on the dog's side, 
and the Hindoos the Mussulmans, who were 
on the side of the cat ; and wherever a Hindoo 
and a Mussulman were fighting, the Hindoos 
aided the Hindoo, and the Mussulmans the 
Mussulman ; and the consequence was the 
death of many on each side, and the wounding 
of most of the foolish quarrelsome people 
engaged. 

Of course such a hubbub as this could not 
be continued long without its being reported 
to the Eajah, who forthwith hastened from 
his palace with his body-guard and some 
horsemen, and soon pvit a stop to this terrible 
fray ; and all the ringleaders were forthwith 
seized and tied together, and marched off to 
prison, there to be kept closely confined till 
the sad business should be fully enquired into, 
and the cause of so dreadful a riot ascertained, 
and fixed upon the guilty. 

All that night, therefore, were the magis- 
trates and police-officers hard at work listen- 
ing to evidence, but they did not advance a 
single step in the